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Nittany Lions in Paris 

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By: Michael McCarrick, Lion’s Eye Writer,

When terrorist attacks struck Paris in November 2015, Penn State Brandywine had to decide whether to continue with the planned study abroad trip to Paris during Thanksgiving break.

It was ultimately decided that the trip would be moved to March for both the safety of the students and a display of fearlessness against the terrorists. All of those fears were washed away during Spring Break when more than 20 Brandywine students made the long trip over to the City of Light. The three classes which offered this opportunity were: Introduction to the Arts in Paris taught by Professor Dr. Paul Green, Black American Writers led by Dr. Kimberly Blockett and Cross Cultural Psychology from Dr. Pauline Guerin.

On the first day, everyone was exhausted from the long flight and was struggling to stay awake. That was until they saw the famous Arc d Fountain and had
their spirits rejuvenated. It was the first of many photo opportunities during the trip as they observed Paris’ iconic landmarks in person for the first time.
At night the streets of Paris were illuminated with the lights of clubs and restaurants such as the Cafe De La Paix, the Le Corail, and the Lombard
Jazz Club.

Students could travel anywhere around the city using the metro station underground. Another fun show some witnessed at night was the Moulin
Rouge which was as visually stunning and glamorous (and exposing) as live theater could get. Senior James Williams had never taken
a study abroad trip before and shared his first experience.

“I very much enjoyed the Seine River Cruise and going up the beautiful waterways of Paris, and also taking the stairs of Pompidou,” Williams said.  “I took two different classes for this trip: Harlem Renaissance and Intro to Art. For Harlem, I went to Josephine Baker’s place and walked to the Montparnesse to see where famous twentieth century French writers and artists worked.”

Williams recommends this trip for sure.

“Of course I would, I think this is an incredible experience to see how foreign cultures are different from home.”

One of the most famous art museums in the world is the Louvre, which is best known for having the most famous painting of all time, Leonardo
Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Also in the museum was Napoleon’s lavish apartment rooms and dozens of excellently crafted of statues from ancient France.
As fascinating as those places were, no monument means more to the identity of a city than the Eifel Tower is to Paris. It is one thing to see it in pictures; to
see it in person shows just how much mystique it carries. Looking into the details of the structure’s architecture, the Eifel Tower proved to everyone
that it is not an over-hyped building, but a worldly manmade treasure.

Student Macy Knackman said it was her favorite part of the trip.

“Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time and how incredibly detailed and large it was,” Knackman said.  “I took the art class with Dr. Green and the psych class with Dr. Geurin. For the psyche class I went to the Immigration Museum which helped my perspective on how exactly we’re different from French people in ways that are not so obvious.”

And who says that it’s no fun to be an American in Paris when one can still go to Disneyland? Not the Disneyland in Anaheim, but Paris’ version of the
happiest place on earth. Disneyland was a fun experience for everyone who went and, unlike American Disney parks, the lines were shorter.

In the hours of rest the Paris La Fayette hotel was home for everyone, but most students didn’t have much time to hang around because of the many activities to be had on a daily basis. In fact it was hard to go to sleep at midnight in Paris, because there is always something to do. (And they say New York City and Las Vegas never sleeps).

Fellow students Maria Gallelli, Alexandria Hatchett, and Meaghan Daly all agreed that they loved the food, the crepes, the atmosphere, the
architecture, and the people.  They also recommended others to take an overseas trip during their stay at Penn State because it an expose one to something different.

When the long week came to an end on March 13, the magic of the trip ended too, as the students embarked on a long journey back home
with long flights and bus rides along with too few hours of sleep. Some said that once they were finally home, their sleeping hours at
night were in the teens, but it was still worth it.

The next day it was back to reality for every participant as everyone had to resume schoolwork. The difference, however, was that everyone had new friends to share a lifetime worth of memories with which had occurred in only one week. Some of the underclassmen are already looking forward to Brandywine’s next trip coming in 2017, and for the students who won’t be going on another study abroad trip, they’ll always have Paris.


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