Hello everyone, my name is Maria Alamo! This summer I spent three amazing weeks in Paris, France. I participated in the Paris- History program. I am a sophomore double majoring in History and Spanish, as well as double minoring in Latino studies and Law and Public policy. I had a lot on my plate but I made room for this wonderful program.
This was the first time I had ever been on an airplane and left my own home state of Indiana. Going to Paris was always something I had dreamed about and this summer it became a reality. Everyday felt like a dream, I felt the need to pinch myself. Our days were spent strolling through the streets of Paris, with Professor Pace pointing out every bit of hidden history within it. We studied art mostly and what better place to do it than Paris? We visited the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay multiple times. I made some incredible new friends, who knew it would take going across the Atlantic to get to know people I’m on campus with. We took took a a field trip to visit the home of Claude Monet in Giverny. I cannot put into words how beautiful the gardens were. I could not believe that I had looked at the paintings and then got to see the inspiration. Although French food was not my favorite thing in the world, I still enjoyed the leisurely culture of Paris. We spent hours at dinner, talking and laughing. My friends and I enjoyed multiple strolls through the Luxembourg Gardens and I felt like a native Parisian. We enjoyed picnics at the Eiffel Tower as we watched the sunset and the Eiffel Tower light up. Along with the culturally enriching part of the trip I also experienced culture shock. The language barrier affected me much more than I thought. Simple things like asking where the bathroom was, or asking about the price of something were difficult. I felt like a dumb American tourist. Walking down the street and not being able to understand the chatter really affected me negatively. Besides the language barrier, French people are very nice.
My time in Paris was short but I did so much and saw everything I could see. I brought home memories and made some lifelong friends. I will always remember Paris and I owe this amazing opportunity to the OVPDEMA scholarship. I come from a very low-income family and this scholarship made my dreams a reality. I grew as a person and I am much more globally aware. We’ll always have Paris.