Can’t believe that two weeks have passed since i completed my Build abroad program at ECE Paris. Thinking about it, i realise that there are many things that i have to reflect upon. Within the month of July, i have made many new friends from many different other countries as well as million of memories. From just casual group picnics around the Champ De Mars drinking under the Eiffel tower, to climbing the tower itself as well as the Arc de Triomphe, trying many types of local food (*wink at the croissants), visiting the Louvre and many other museums, all the churches that i could manage to visit, and a few trips outside of the city to Disneyland and Versailles. One step at a time, let start at the beginning.
My first day started in a way that i would called well, as considering i have put a lot of research before coming to Paris. My program, Energy and Environmental Seminar, has the most applicants as compared to the other programs. Everyone was friendly and we got along really well, not to mention that we were also fortunate enough to have a professor that was both funny and very passionate about what he was teaching. At the end of the day, we all went to have a picnic at Champ de Mars, where I got to meet more friends from the other programs.
Our program focused on the contents early on both current and emerging environmental issues that the world currently faces. Classes were usually entertaining because not only that we got to learn about issues other different countries are facing and what are the best current options to solve them, we got to interact with the issues based on many different types of board games or group works. Classes usually started at 8:30 and finished at 5 pm, afterwards were a free time which we usually used to hang out under Champ de Mars or local attractions such as museums, etc.
Friends that I met along the trip 🙂 Tisa, Emmanuel, Amy, Kamran, me and Tiberu, and Joseph (photographer 😉 )
For the second week of the program, we started moving on to a different area of study which was the corporate social responsibility as we participated in more assessable tasks such as a performing a presentation based on a company you picked, and a group game where we got ourselves into group, after picking a topic, we as a company had to come up with some solutions and the solutions that sound the best would end up win a box of macaron from the professor (the game ended in a 5 team tie, how odd!!!!). Not only that these activities taught me how to be creative and allowed me to think individually, it also improved my abilities on how to work better in a team, be a team player etc. Outside of class, I continue to met more friends, we visited Disneyland on the weekend, Arc De Triomphe on Bastille day, and Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, Museum de Louvre, etc.
In the third week, the program started to move on to energy and more physics based contents. Although the contents were challenging, we did find it interesting learning about the different type of energy to generate electricity and water and easy to relate to how I could I apply this knowledge to better use in the future or in different countries. The assessment for this week was a three way debate between 3 different type of energies: Fossil Fuels, Nuclear, and Renewable Energy in which the professor thought that out of the 5 years that they had been running this program, our debate was the best one yet, as everyone was so involved in it and we had such a good time. With most of the local attractions have been visited, we now turned into the food. Throughout the week, we have tried Snails (fun fact: they taste like liquid garlic bread”, we tried the special rum steaks at the Latin Quarter (the one hour wait was worth it), but out of all we had a blast at this famous Korean restaurant at Korean town, where I had found a new addiction in rice wine and for some reason I kept trying to put on a Nashville accent as I pronounced it as “Rhas Whine”.
Moving on to the last week, where mostly all the cultural activities happened. there were no new contents learnt this week as we had to revise and sit final exams the day before I left Paris. We went for a rowing trip at Bois De Bologue, we had a picnic as a whole school under the Champ de Mars, as well as a school excursion to the Science Museum. These cultural activities not only allowed me to bond more with my newly made friends, but they also shaped up a new perspective I have on Paris.
To sum it up, it would be fair to say that this trip has been a phenomenal one. Paris has been an absolute blast for me. From the early busy morning train commute to those late night picnic under the Champ de Mars, I just still can’t get enough of it. This trip not only had given me many new friends, but it also improved all my personal skills as well as helped me gain a whole different perspective on things which I would be able to adapt and utilise throughout my life.