16 Days Interrailing: Paris

Paris is always a blast! I had a great time showing theses two around the city. ūüėÉ 

   

Advertisements

16 Days Interrailing: Itinerary

Before heading back to the states at the end of this month, I am setting off¬†on my last, and most ambitious, European adventure so far¬†this weekend.¬†It’s¬†an Interrail trip, covering 8 countries in 16 days.¬†I have two friends from the states who are making the journey across the Atlantic¬†to travel with me. Our post-graduation Europe trip looks like this:

  • Days 1 & 2: Paris, France
  • Day 3: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Days 4 & 5: Vienna, Austria
  • Day 6: Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Days 7-9: Budapest, Hungary
  • Days 10 & 11: Zagreb, Croatia
  • Day 12: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Day 13 & 14: Venice, Italy
  • Day 15: Milan, Italy
  • Day 16: Travel day –> Milan, Italy back to Reims, France

Slide1

I am so excited for this trip and cannot wait for all of the adventures that happen along the way!

bELONging

When I decided to embark on this journey and study in the French Dual Degree program, I knew that I wasn’t going to have the typical 4 year college experience. While I have been a student at Elon for the past 4 years, the last classes I took there were during the spring semester of my sophomore year and the last time I was at Elon as a student was for a few days in August, at the beginning of my senior year. I know that I’ve missed out on some of Elon experiences because of my short time there. I never went to a turning 21 dinner, never went fountain hopping, and was never an upperclassman on campus. The campus has changed so much since I moved abroad. There are buildings I’ve never been in, dining halls I’ve never eaten at, and new dorms where I lived freshman year.

But despite all of these things, I have no regrets about doing this program. While there are many things that I didn’t get to experience at Elon, I got to do a lot in my two years there. I went to countless college coffees, joined marching band, volunteered around campus and in the local community, experienced Cram Jam, won prizes at¬†survival bingo, went on numerous late night¬†cookout runs, and made some amazing friends.¬†And while my last two years of college didn’t include all of the typical Elon experiences, I’ve gotten to do so many things that I would have never been able to do¬†if I hadn’t studied in the Dual Degree program. I’ve lived and studied abroad in France for two years, made¬†friends from all over the world, interned in Paris for six months, traveled around Europe, attended a film festival, had afternoon tea in London, played handbells in Paris, ate gelato in Italy, shopped at Strasbourg’s Christmas market, and learned a second language. Even though¬†life abroad has¬†been very challenging at times, I am extremely¬†grateful to¬†have had this amazing opportunity.

Tomorrow, the class of 2015 is graduating from Elon University. CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who will be graduating! Y’all are amazing! And¬†a¬†special thanks¬†to everyone who has helped make¬†my Elon experience so special. Without my SLC, band, and dual degree families, I would not be where I am today. Thanks for your support, encouragement, and laughter these past 4 years. My Elon experience has been so much better because you were in it.

However, instead of walking across the stage and receiving my diploma with the rest of my class tomorrow, I will be 4,000+ miles away in France. I’ve known for a while that I would not be walking with my class at Elon’s graduation. My semester at NEOMA¬†ends later than Elon’s spring semester¬†and I still have¬†a few more days of undergrad left.¬†But, I still wish that could be there under the oaks tomorrow,¬†graduating and celebrating with everyone at¬†Elon. Nevertheless, Anna, Dre, and I don’t want¬†the¬†distance between us and Elon to prevent us from celebrating graduation. We¬†are headed to explore the nearby city of Troyes so that we can celebrate together while¬†making the most of our remaining time in France.

Elon recently asked seniors to describe their Elon experience in 1¬†word. The word I would use to describe my Elon experience is¬†incredible. The knowledge, memories, and friends I gained during my time at Elon, both on campus and abroad, will stick with me forever. So, congratulations class of 2015! Here’s¬†to all the great¬†opportunities and roads ahead. Long Live Elon!

Cannes 2014

This post is a year in the making. It was one of my favorite trips that I’ve taken in France and I definitely wanted to include it on my blog. So here is is, my trip to the Cannes 2014 Film Festival.

I was meeting Anna in Cannes for the festival, since we were interning in different cities. Since we only had the weekend there, we left Friday evening after work to make the most out of the short time we had there. I had a direct train from Paris to Cannes and Anna had a few connections to make before getting on the same train. But, her first few trains were running late and we weren’t sure she was going to make all of her connections. I remember freaking out and calling both her and my parents multiple times, trying to figure out what to do. But, everything worked out and she made the train, no problem, and we arrived late that evening in Cannes and headed to our hotel.

The next day, we caught the bus into town to go check out the festival. Cannes is in southern France and borders the mediterranean sea, and part of the film festival is right next to, or on the beach. There was even a free night showing of an older movie on the beach every night!

2014-05-17 20.34.41

While there, we were able to see two films at the festival. Student prices (4 euro tickets!) made it cheaper for us to see movies at this festival, than at a movie theater. The first movie was good and well made, but not exactly my cup of tea. But, the second movie we saw was a Korean film made over the course of 8 years, subtitled in both French and English, and was amazing! There was a Q & A with the director after the movie, and it was awesome to learn more about all of the hard work that went into the making of the movie.

2014-05-18 08.59.57   2014-05-18 10.56.57

We were also able to see a couple of red carpet premieres while we were at the festival. It was definitely worth the wait and the crowd to see my first red carpet events!

2014-05-17 18.19.15   2014-05-18 11.23.29

Cannes is a beautiful city and I loved exploring it, even if we only had a weekend to do so. We even splurged on a fancy lunch at a restaurant right on the beach our last afternoon there. It was such an amazing experience to catch a bit of the film festival and was definitely a weekend to remember!

2014-05-17 16.42.16

2014-05-17 10.27.54   2014-05-18 11.24.38

2014-05-18 11.55.31

Almost There!

After months and months of work, I turned my thesis in yesterday!

11012590_10152996338044495_4344922882190709682_n

Regardless of the grade I get on it, I am extremely proud of all of the work I’ve done. Fall semester¬†my sophomore year at Elon, I took a French Literature class.¬†The final for this class was a 5 page paper analyzing a short¬†french book that we read. The night before it was due, I remember writing it in my dorm room stressed out of my mind because the paper was in French. Since it was exam time, there was a 24 hour quite policy in the dorm room, but¬†someone had decided to host a game night¬†in the common room…which was right outside of my dorm. Needless to say, that did not help my stress levels and my roommate was kind enough to go sassily ask them to be quite because I was¬†writing a paper in a foreign language.

Fast¬†forward 2.5 years to now, when I’ve turned in a 70+ page, 25,000 word thesis in French. Writing a short, 5 page paper in French seems like a breeze now that I’ve finished my thesis. It’s hard to believe that I was once so stressed about a short assignment and it’s even crazier to think of how much¬†I’ve changed and grown these past 2 years in France. I’ve very proud of everything I’ve accomplished during my time in France. And, hey,¬†if I can write a 70 page thesis in French, I can do just about anything. Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me throughout my time here!¬†I couldn’t have done it without your support.

Finishing my thesis also means that I am one step closer to graduation.¬†But, while¬†the hardest part is behind me, I’m not quite done yet.¬†I have one more exam and the oral defense of my thesis to pass before I’m done. But, there’s only 14 more days until my oral defense and last exam will be finished and 45 days until I’m flying home. I’m almost there! ūüôā

Last Day of Classes!

Today marks the beginning of the end of my undergraduate experience, with the¬†last day of class. This semester has flown by, and the end of classes shows just how quickly the end is approaching.¬†I can count the number of weeks and assignments I have left on one hand. Only¬†1 projet, 1 thesis, 1 retake, 1 thesis defense, and 5 weeks stand between me and finishing my degrees.¬†I’m not quite done yet, but¬†I can see¬†the light at the end of the tunnel and am looking forward to finishing strong.

11168076_10152956629424495_718121317406083976_n

So much has changed since our first day of classes (including the name of our school), but I am so glad that I’ve gotten to share this experience with these girls. I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished these past 2 years. It’s been a great experience with lots of¬†challenges, but also many wonderful adventures along the way.

My last few weeks of college are going to fly by, especially if they go¬†by as fast as the rest of this¬†semester has. I look forward to making the most of theses last few weeks of college, celebrating the end of undergrad and all that we have accomplished, and soaking up my remaining time in France. ūüôā

Chasing the Sun

The trip around Europe with Ben was a success, but tiring. I may have forgotten include any rest days in our itinerary…whoops. I definitely learned my lesson and will build in a few relaxing days on my next trip. I’ll update soon with stories of our adventures, but until then, here are a few photos from the trip. ūüôā

PhotoGrid_1425216172403    PhotoGrid_1425219562068

Ben flew home Thursday and I have spent the last few days relaxing, ignoring my growing to do list and enjoying the¬†last¬†few days of vacation before classes¬†start back up. This time tomorrow, I’ll be busy with¬†classes and thesis work. Tomorrow I start my first of 4¬†“elective” classes. They¬†are exactly the same as the “major” classes I took earlier in the semester, just a little bit shorter (lasting 2 weeks each instead of 3 weeks).¬†I will be taking one class at a time and usually have 6 hour blocks of class a few days a week. These long days, combined with the inconsistent French class schedule, and the fact that one of my classes only meets for a week means that I don’t have many days of classes left before graduation. 23 days of class to be exact. Where did time go?!?!

But, fear not. I will still be very¬†busy, despite having a lighter class schedule–my senior thesis needs to be written. And I have made the ambitious, but necessary, goal of having a draft of my thesis done by Easter weekend…which is only 34 days away. So, I’m off¬†to enjoy my¬†last day of vacation before classes and thesis work resume tomorrow.