“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!



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