France: The Gift of Family

Submitted by Lauren Brooks on the 2022 spring semester program in Paris, France…

For about the past two weeks, my family has been visiting me. Originally, when I got to Paris, I knew I’d get a bit homesick here and there from not seeing my family. We’re really close and I knew I’d be missing fun family gatherings and birthdays. Having them here with me now has been wonderful, including the occasional hiccups typical of any family vacation. I’ve gotten to show them slices of my life here in Paris and experience new aspects of the city with them!

Seeing how my family interacts with the culture has shown me how much I’ve grown over the past few months in my understanding of French language and culture. From something as simple as saying “Bonjour” when walking into stores to restaurant etiquette to navigating the metro, I’ve gained a better understanding of life and culture in Paris.

Spending this time with them has also shown me just how much I’ve missed the love and community of home. Receiving all of the hugs, kisses, and words of encouragement from them has been refreshing. As for any university student, the second half of the semester can drag as you get closer to the finish line. Enjoying the company of family while exploring the city has given me a boost that will hopefully allow me to finish my semester off strong.

Lauren and her parents making memories by the Eiffel Tower
The famous Pont Alexandre III bridge in Paris