It has been a few days since I returned from my study abroad experience in London and Paris. Upon returning, I was really hit with the jet lag and exhaustion from an adventurous ten days in Europe. Additionally, I began summer classes the day after returning from a 13 hour journey. However, I wouldn’t change my experience in the slightest. Whether it was rooming with strangers or carrying my luggage around at the Paris Railway station, it was a constant adventure and learning experience.
I was fortunate enough to have a great cohort of Bulls with me who were just as, if not more, excited to do and see absolutely everything in both cities. Thanks to the subway/metro/tube passes given to us by our program director, we were able to experience both cities like locals. In fact, on our last day in London I was able to take the train from Convent Garden to our hotel on my own…without Google Maps; which is quite the feat for me since I have a comically poor sense of direction.
Furthermore, I was able to accomplish my goal of observing the differences in culture between the Tampa, London, and Paris. For instance, as Americans when we visit restaurants we expect the wait staff to be attentive and pleasant and we tip accordingly. In contrast, the wait staff in London and Paris do not expect to receive a tip since they earn a normal wage and tips are included in the bill, regardless of one’s opinion on the quality of service. Additionally, meals in European restaurants generally take longer than meals in American restaurants. For instance, on our last day in Paris, our group spent around three hours in a restaurant for brunch.
Overall, this was an incredible experience which I would not have been able to experience without the scholarships provided by USF.
I will hold this trip close to my heart for the rest of my life.