“but Studying Abroad is basically a year long vacation”

Salut à tous! It’s hard to believe that my last week-long trip of the year has already come and gone. From this day forward, I will be in France till the very end of the semester, only 27 days but who’s counting? My last trip was unlike any other, filled with Mediterranean sunlight and days of total relaxation. I ventured from Barcelona all the way to Milan, with a few stops in between, so let me catch you up!

On my trip to Barcelona, I was originally supposed to meet up with my best friend from home, but plans fell through at the VERY last minute and I had to explore the city by myself. ANYWAY, Barcelona was incroyable (incredible) nonetheless. The more I explored the city, the more I came to appreciate it. Seeing the iconic Gaudi architecture of the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell really blew me away, and made Barcelona stick out from all the rest of the cities that I have visited this year for sure.  Overall, yes I really enjoyed Barcelona, but this forced solo excursion really solidified my view that traveling is much more enjoyable when you have other people to share your experiences with.

Thankfully, after Barcelona I had planned to meet up with my trusty traveling companions Abby and Ava for one last trip to le sud de la France (the South of France). From the moment we left the gare (train station) in Nice , I knew that I would love it. The city is the perfect mélange (mixture) of French and Italian cultures, with a long stretch of shoreline to boot. Unlike all of our other journeys together, Abby, Ava, and I stayed in Nice for four whole days and just spent our time relaxing at restaurants and cafés by the beach.

Throughout our stay in Nice, Abby, Ava , and I couldn’t help but laugh and reflect on all that we had been through this year. From avoiding floods in Venice, to unjustly getting fined in Budapest, the three of us have been through A LOT together, and I don’t know how I could have ever survived this year without my two friends. This year would have be rien (nothing) without the stories of our many mishaps and dozens of inside jokes. Going from my solo trip in Barcelona, to walking the beach of Nice with Abby and Ava really showed me how lucky I am to have had such amazing friends to travel Europe with. They really helped remind me that I wasn’t totally seul (alone) in my thoughts and experiences abroad. It’s crucial to have people that you can fully relate to while facing so many specific challenges as we have while going through such a life altering experience. And it’s also great being able to vent about your other friends who tell you that “studying abroad isn’t hard because you’re basically on vacation all year,” or that “my time in *insert name of english speaking country here* has been SO difficult, you just wouldn’t understand.” My shared adventures with the Holy Cross kids abroad, especially Abby and Ava, are some of the fondest memories that I have from this year, and will remember for the rest of my life.

Maxime du jour: “La meilleure condition de travail, c’est les vacances” 

the best condition of work, is vacation Jean Marie Gourio (words that the French people LIVE by)

À plus tard!



Photos from Weeks 35 & 36

The Sagrada Familia, taking forever to be built, in typical Euro fashion

Palm Sunday at the Sagrada

My first time touching the Mediterranean Sea

we LOVE Nice

pretending that we wouldn’t rather be at Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, NY

Ran into Nate while in Nice

“We’re going to Monte Carlo”- Abby and I every 10 minutes in Monaco

Abby and her yacht, “the Emmy”

Traveling in France means learning new vocab! (coup de soleil= sunburn)  

Abroad advice- pray that you’re as lucky as me to have travel friends that you can : trust wholeheartedly to book airbnbs without consultation, follow blindly in foreign cities, take turns paying for dinner, and buy dumb touristy tshirts with

Bus detours in Europe will take you to the craziest places

A Different Travel Experience

Bonjour à tous! Last weekend I went on one of my final trips of the year,  to Amsterdam. This trip in particular, was one of the most anticipated since my friends and I planned it during our time in Tours this summer. Amsterdam was yet another city that I heard great reviews of, so I was expecting it to be just like most other places I have traveled to this year, but boy was I wrong.

The trip started off like any other, with early morning wake up call to catch a cheap flight and get into the city by midi (mid-day).  As I have done in in every city that I’ve visited, I ate at restaurants, visited churches, and lounged in coffee shops. Yes, the canals and the architecture were manifiques (gorgeous), but the culture of Amsterdam was surprisingly not my favorite. Contrary to what I was expecting, the relaxed lois (laws) in the city did not make me feel the most comfortable, and it did not help that my hostel was on the edge of the red light district. Don’t get me wrong, Amsterdam is an amazingly unique city, but it’s definitely not a city that I could ever see myself living in.

Although I felt uneasy about a few things during the trip, what I did enjoy was spending a day doing a canal and brewery tour with my friends Ava, Dan, and Nate. In no other city had I paid for anything other than musées (museums) or bouffe (food), so pretending to be an actual tourist with disposable money instead of a broke college kid for a day was fun. It definitely made me excited to explore more of Europe later on in life, when I don’t have a negative balance in my bank account.

Overall, I can see how Amsterdam could be the favorite European destination for many, but it just did not resonate with me as well as some of the other great cities that I’ve been to have. But hey, maybe I’ll be back one day and my mind will be changed. As for now, I’d rather be walking the comfortable streets of Dijon than the red light district in Amsterdam.

Leçon du jour:  “L’opinion a causé plus de problèmes que des pestes ou des tremblements sur cette petite terre.”

“Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes“- Voltaire

À bientôt!


Photos from Week 34

did you really go to Amsterdam if you don’t have a canal picture??

Last abroad trip with Jason, we will def miss Munich the most

Nate trying incredibly hard to be as cool as effortless Ava

Lad’s Holiday

Anne Frank’s House (thanks for the recommendation Abi)

The Venice of the North

Doing some touristy things for once Dan, a beer connoisseur

 Ava holding on to me for dear life as we walk across a canal

Me an some pigeons eating a loaf of bread