Passports

Dispatches from Abroad

Friday, Dec. 23, 2011 2:57 p.m.

Updates from Nicolas, studying in Paris

This post was written by Nicolas Diaz, who is studying abroad in Paris, France.

Nicolas Diaz in front of the Hôtel des Invalides. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Diaz.

With the semester coming to a close, I can’t help but dread leaving this city and ending one of the most enriching experiences of my life. As I reflect on my semester in Paris, I have come to realize the most important part of any study abroad experience is precisely what I am facing right now – the last handful of days.

I am forced to conceptualize all the friendships, traditions and daily routines that will be physically left behind but forever attached to who I have become. My last few days here have actually come to resemble my first hours in Paris back in August. In the short time I have left, I want to take in all this city has to offer, from eating traditional French pastries even when I’m not hungry to walking through Champs de Mars at sunset just to see the Eiffel Tower for the thousandth time. I suddenly feel the need to retrace my steps of this semester and do everything I loved one last time before boarding a plane home.

But having been away for so long, I realize what awaits me back at GW will be even more meaningful. After spending this year’s spring semester in Milan followed by Paris in the fall, I am ready to bring all those lessons learned, memories created and obstacles surpassed back to D.C. I look forward to applying all that I gained from this year abroad in my one true home – GW.

Though the final stage of my Parisian semester has mainly involved studying for finals and running last-minute errands, I still struggle with the fact that Paris will no longer be another home. Learning the ways of the locals for the past 120 days and adopting them to my daily routines has been an experience to say the least, but learning about myself in a city teeming with culture, art, music, diversity and overall enlightening people has made me as satisfied as I can possibly be.

I lived through everything I had once planned for this city and so much more. Now it’s time for me to bring all those experiences back to D.C.