It’s been eighty degrees and sunny all week here in Paris, and it feels like the end of spring—not the beginning of fall. However, assignments, tests, and homework are here to remind me that it is, in fact, the turn of the season into a new academic year.
Starting school at IES Abroad in Paris has reminded me of my freshman year at Hope. Memories of pulling up to Gilmore Hall and anxiously climbing the three flights of stairs to see my new bedroom paralleled the same excitement and fear that filled me this semester as my taxi dropped me off at my new apartment in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. All I had were two suitcases and the clothes on my back when I arrived at my Parisian homestay which was much different than a Jeep filled with dorm décor.
Despite it being my senior year now, I still had new student orientation, played ice breaker games with my new classmates (introverts, I’m here for you), and had to memorize 100 fresh faces and names upon arriving to the IES Abroad center. Ordering packages, textbooks and other simple things I knew how to do like the back of my hand at Hope is unknown territory all over again. And, I’m still a bit reliant on using Google Maps to get to class.
Hang on, though, this story gets better. While it seemed counter-intuitive and a bit chaotic to step out of my comfort zone just as it got comfortable, I believe at always being a beginner at something. Whether it’s taking classes I know nothing about or moving to another country without knowing a single soul, I always want to see the world with fresh eyes.
So, go apply for study abroad, spontaneously take the train to Chicago for the weekend, or dare to sit at the community table at LJ’s. Be a beginner. Start over. Start something. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to experience the ordinary all over again.