What do you think?

What do you think?

As I write this, I have been home for a little over three months. Reflecting on the four weeks I spent in Paris, what do I think? Would I recommend other students to go abroad?

Paris has always been somewhere I’ve wanted to visit. For no particular reason, other than wanting to visit the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been obsessed with the Eiffel Tower for as long as I can remember. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint. I visited the Eiffel Tower at least 5 times throughout my time in Paris. When this opportunity arose, I got excited. I took the necessary steps to apply, attended the pre-departure orientation course. Even while taking the pre-departure class, I didn’t really think I was actually going to go. But the further along I went, the more it became a reality. There is a lot of preparation, and it can definitely get overwhelming. I went into this with no expectations, because I didn’t know what it would be like and I also didn’t want to be let down.

I had decided to go to another country alone, it was quite terrifying. I have to say that going solo wasn’t so bad. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone, and really encourage me to make new friends. It helped me grow in that sense, but also helped me gain independence.

It is crazy looking back on it, because I met complete strangers and they became the only people I knew in the whole country. They became family. They are the people I ate dinner with, laughed with, went shopping with, went exploring the city with. I made life long memories with so many people who live across the globe. There is a good chance I may never see some of them ever again. But, I will cherish the memories I have with them forever.

I would definitely recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the chance. This experience is one that not many have the opportunity to have. My study abroad experience is quite different than others because I was luckily enough to spend the summer with all international students. We had a blast, there was never a dull moment, and there was always someone who was interested in what you wanted to do. Normally, many students go abroad and attend class with the students of that university. There were only two French ESSCA students in the whole program. Our program was tailored to us, they encouraged going out in the city and make the most of our trip.

My perspective was widen to a global view. I studied in a different country with a British, Ukraine, and French professors, with students from all over the world, which include, but not limited to: Michigan, Florida, Australia, Hong Kong, Scotland, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam, the Phillippines, and Italy.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you will know that it wasn’t a walk in the park. I had some obstacles, and problems I faced, but the ups and downs really allowed me to learn and grow. I will forever cherish the memories I made and lessons I’ve learned.

A few classmates of mine, spent most of their days in their hotel room, and really didn’t explore what the city had to offer. They wanted to go home from the start. So, if you were to ask them, they would not recommend it. If you want to put yourself out there and be exposed to a new lifestyle, I would recommend this to you, with a willing attitude.

Here’s an article about I did with a fellow Global Vulcan: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/chancellor/stories/2019/09/26/2019-study-abroad-programs-in-europe/

Meant to be.

Meant to be.

In the Japanese culture, does something called omiyage, which is gift that you give to a friend after returning home from trip. My mother works in the hospitality industry and is often given omiyage as guest check in or out of the hotel. Hawaiʻi takes a lot of inspiration from the Japanese culture as we have so many Japanese tourist visiting our island.

Going to Paris, I brought some ribbon lei, local snacks and UH Hilo swag, such as lanyards, stickers, etc. I made goodie bags for some people. I made a tag for each good bag which read: “Mahalo nui loa. (Thank you very much)” and one the back I included an ʻōlelo noʻeau I found back in June. “ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi. (Not all knowledge is learned in just one school.)”

When I returned to campus in August, we had a freshly renovated library, and as you walk in there is a large ʻōlelo noʻeau displayed. This made me so happy, because it was as if I was doing exactly what I was meant to. Not that I had any doubts, but it just confirmed that it was definitely was supposed to happen.

Pickpocketing Galore

Pickpocketing Galore

On the very first day, one of my classmates got his phone stolen from his back pocket. Another classmate of mine got her wallet taken. Pickpocket-ers are every where. It is quite frightening that these people train and tag team to steal stuff from you.

If I can recommend only one thing to you, if would be an Arden Cove bag. The founders of the company are two girls who traveled, and got pick pocketted. So, they thought of everything. It was the best $150 that I’ve ever spent.

“The full sized bag is perfect for days where you need a little more organization- with two wall pockets, a zipper pocket, and a built-in wallet, everything has its place. It will even fit that Kindle or small novel if you have some downtime while traveling, making it the ultimate travel bag. A detachable crossbody strap keeps you hands-free throughout the day.”

Feature include:

  • Full Body Anti-Slash Lining
  • Cut-proof Strap
  • Detachable Strap
  • Locking Zippers
  • RFID protection
  • Fully Waterproof Exterior & Zippers
  • Interior D-ring to attach Keychain 
  • Bottom Studs  
Pics Or It Didn’t Happen

Pics Or It Didn’t Happen

Going into this trip with an already overweight bag, I was limited to the amount of things I could being back home with me. So, I wanted to focus on spending my money on experiences rather than materialistic items. This was quite difficult at first being that we spent a lot of time in the luxury district and there was their annual sales this time of year. It became a fun activity window shopping and just soaking in all the amazing things they had to offer. But, it wasn’t too hard to walk away empty handed with all the items were way out of our price range.

When I wasn’t in class, what did I do?

On the first day, we went to Par de Saint Cloud, had a picnic and got to get to know everyone a little better. In the weeks following, I went on a boat tour of Paris, Fete de la musique (Music Festival), Louvre Museum, Amusement Park at Tuileries Park, Disneyland Paris, Disney Studios, A$AP Rocky Concert, Versailles Castles, went on another boat tour but for dinner, Van Gogh Exhibition, Arc de Triomphe, took a 4 hour bus to Normady to visit Mount St. Michele, and spent many hours at the Eiffel Tower like four times.

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

Upon applying, we choose the housing we wanted, either:

Standard Option – Séjours & Affaires Courbevoie Grande Arche

  • Shared room in two-star apartment hotel
  • No Air Conditioner
  • €1550.00 euros (partner institutions)
  • €2850.00 euros (non-partner institutions)

Upgraded Option – Residhome Courbevoie la Défense

  • Shared room in a four star apartment hotel
  • With air conditioner
  • €2000.00 euros (partner institutions)
  • €3300.00 euros (non-partner institutions)

As we stayed for almost a month, all our accommodations have washing facilities.

Being that I was going to be there in the middle of summer, I opted for the upgraded option with air conditioning (and let me tell you, WORTH IT. It broke 100-degrees).

The first day, I met my roommate, Michelle, and we got situated in our room. We had two twin sized beds that were pushed together to make one big bed, we learned that other students had the same two-beds pushed together, but theirs were made separately. We had a small fridge, that stopped working after a week of being there. This caused us to cook ONE time, from then on, we ate out or purchases non-refrigerated / microwaveable food.

Our room was scheduled to be cleaned twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, well the first week, and last week we didn’t get our room cleaned. Upon checkout, we were supposed to dispose of our trash on our own, but there was no trash chute to take it to.

Have no fear, Starbucks, saves the day. I was able to get change a do my laundry.

Re-Entry Party

Re-Entry Party

During the first week of school, we had our two-hour re-entry party for all student who are returning to UH Hilo for the first time since being abroad.

Counseling – Strategies for Effective Reentry Adjustment

A counselor welcomed us back, and talked to us about how adjusting back to normal life may be difficult, especially those who were gone for a year. He encouraged us to reach out for help if we feel we are struggling. He also suggesting having a support group for Global Vulcans who are transitioning back home. We played a few ice breakers.

We played a game where someone stands in the center of the circle and say “Move seats if you…” It was cool to see that a lot of had similar experience though we were in different parts of the world. The second activity we did was arranging ourselves in alphabetical order without talking, then again by age. Using gestures and pointing was common for a lot of students who went to country that they didn’t speak the same language.

Career Advising – Experience On Exchange Resume Builder

“Participated in Study Abroad program in Madrid Spain in Spring 2019, which enabled me to independently interact with and learn from a diverse new culture.” 

Marketing Your Study Aboard Effectively

Transfer Credit Evaluation

For those student who took courses that we not on their Study Abroad Course Approval from, they would need to do a Transfer Credit Evaluation to get the credits from those courses. I only took the courses on my SACA form, so I am good to go.

Communication is Key

Communication is Key

In order to stay connected with the world, I needed to make sure that my phone was still in service. I knew my hotel and my school would have WiFi available for me to use, but I knew I would be exploring the city and need to use Google Maps, Translate, etc. So, I rented a portable WiFi for unlimited data for my month abroad. I paid about €176,30 for this. I was able to pick it up at the airport upon my arrival. I mentioned this is a previous post, but I needed to get Cellular Service in order to use What’s App. I purchased a SIM card in Paris for €18, unlimited calls and text and 50GB of data. My phone was locked. My mom was in contact with AT&T and I could either pay off the rest of my phone balance or add a International Passport. We chose the latter, which was $60 for 1GB for the month. I would recommend doing your research before going on the trip. Every phone provider is different. Some of my classmates bought SIM cards at the airport for more money and less data.

With being on the internet, I got to share my experiences through my Instagram as well as text and FaceTime. My family & I also used an app called Life360, it allowed us to share our location, and phone battery. I set locations such as Hotel, School, etc so my family would be able to see where I am even when we had a 12 hour time difference.

Postcards

Postcards

You can find postcards all throughout the city, at museums, gift shops, or just little kiosks on the side of the street. I bought postcards on the first day I was there, and at other places throughout my trip. I carried them with me with the intention of mailing them out. But I was too caught up with everything else doing on so, it just didn’t happen. One night, my roommate & I were looking at all the postcards we bought (she bought it as keepsake). I then realized, what do you write on a postcard. I eventually mustered up a few sentences on each post card. I went down to the lobby to ask where is the nearest place I can mail them out. The front desk agent advised me I could go to Monoprix, a grocery store to do this. I head over to Monoprix at 4:45PM, turns out Postal portion closed at 4:30PM. They open at 9AM the next morning, I normally start class at 9AM about 20 mins away. So, I waited until I had a visit and we were leaving at 9:45AM, so I got to go to Monoprix first. As soon as they’re open, I am first in line. Turns out, they only mail within France.

The next day I go to La Poste, to mail 11 postcards to family and friends and paid nearly €15. I mailed my postcards out on July 2nd, and I received them when I returned home on July 21.

Getting in the Air

Getting in the Air

Flights were mighty expensive. I used Google Flights to find my flight. This was my first time traveling alone internationally. So, I had a few stipulations. I did not want more than one layover, and I didn’t want to go to LAX because I heard that airport is crazy. The flights that had multiple layovers were some of the cheapest, but I was willing to pay a little more for one stop. Because I was going to this program, I didn’t have too much wiggle room when booking the flights. I also didn’t want to book the flight and not end up going. So, I waited until I got all the details, and booked my flight 2 months prior to my departure which probably contributed to why the cost was high.

Scotts Cheap Flights often has extremely cheap flights but, it usually sells out very quickly, and gives you date restrictions.

Paid.

Paid.

Tuition and Costs – Pairing 1 and Pairing 2

From € 1550.00 euros (partner institutions)
From € 2850.00 euros (non-partner institutions)
Included in these fees are: • Course materials
• Housing in individual studio or shared (2-student) apartments in an international residence or an
appropriate equivalent pending availability
• The welcome lunch and farewell dinner
• Some guided tours (venues can be changed according to availability and/or weather) as stated on
the previous pages.


Not included in these fees are :
• Meals and other food and beverages (except for the above-mentioned group meals)
• Personal expenses
• Personal travel and accommodations outside Paris
• Transport card in PARIS : you’ll be given the transport card, “RATP smartcard” on which you’ll have to put money to pay for your travel on public transport in Paris (metro, bus, tram)

Housing Options:

Standard option
Shared room in a two star apartment hotel
No air conditioner
• €1550.00 euros (partner institutions)
• €2850.00 euros (non-partner institutions)
For more information click on the images
Upgraded option
Shared room in a four star apartment hotel
With air conditioner
• €2000.00 euros (partner institutions)
• €3300.00 euros (non-partner institutions)

How to pay:

I had to wire the money to them in France. They sent me the banking information but it was in French. So, I had to request for it to be sent to me in English. I went to my bank, and had to do all the paperwork them to wire the money. They had a lot of questions to ensure it’s not a scam. They only did wire transfers before 11AM. We had to transfer the money to them in Euros, which doesn’t seem like too much of an issue, but surprisingly the tellers struggled with that for a bit. There was a $45 transfer fee. We submitted the paper work and had to sit an wait for their Oahu office to approve it. Nearly 40 mins later, it successfully went through.

For more information visit: ESSCA Paris Summer Program