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Culture Shock in Paris

by Brooke Criswell
macarons paris france culture shock travel study abroad

Last Updated on December 14, 2018 by Cat Rogliano

paris cruise seine river france travel study abroadParis is more of a Los Angeles whereas London was more of a New York City. Both are large in population and area but the demographics and society are very different. I also feel spoiled coming from London where the rooms and spaces were much larger.

In Paris, not everybody dresses up as formally as in London. People are more casual here. Paris is more creative and relaxed such as L.A. I imagine New York City and, now London, as more uptight, professional and all business.

eiffel tower paris france travel study abroad fashionBack in London, everything was in English and so it felt pretty familiar. When I stepped off the train in Paris however, I knew I was a foreigner that would never quite fit in. This was okay though I thought, this is what the trip is supposed to feel like. Grocery shopping has been hard because the ingredients are foreign to me. I even tried duck because I can’t eat a chicken sandwich everywhere I go. Another struggle is understanding when someone tells me a street; they all sound similar to
me and unless I see it I do not know what is being said. I do not have an internet plan on my phone so navigating my way around makes me feel like a pioneer, whereas in the States, you can download apps and maps to figure out where something is.

In London, we had our Richmond University right there down the street. In Paris (and in the rest of the cities), we have our classes in conference rooms in the hotel. It is quite a difference in the learning environment, and this also has the effect of making Paris feel much more foreign.

eiffel tower paris france travel study abroad fashionThe weather feels like I shifted from winter to the end of summer. In London, I had to wear jeans and cardigans in 65 degree weather, and in the mornings it was generally 55. Here, I am wearing crop tops and light weight dresses in 103 degree weather.

We don’t have as much time here as we did in London and the time has flown by. Between getting lost on a subway and adventuring around foreign streets to the classes, everything has swept by.

Our first night began with an evening cruise down the river Seine and is ending with one last visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Thanks for everything Paris, you have treated me well with all of your macarons!



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