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My Experience Studying Abroad in Paris as an Engineering Major

April 23, 2024
by Adriana Kelley
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Experiencing European Engineering while Studying Abroad in Paris 

When I first started college at the University of Michigan, I never thought that studying abroad was possible for me. I assumed that it was something that only language or history students could partake in, but I was wrong. As a STEM student, and specifically as an engineering student, I not only took advantage of an engineering class abroad, but there were also many opportunities for me to see engineering feats that I looked up to for many years.  

Experiencing Engineering around Europe 

The Eiffel Tower 

Ever since I was young, I was fascinated with the Eiffel Tower, and studying abroad in Paris made it possible for me to not only see it up close, but it also provided me with the opportunity to go up and enjoy the architecture of the tower.  

A close up of a tower

The infamous Eiffel Tower. Viewing this tower up close was a dream come true. 

The Arc de Triomphe 

The Arc de Triomphe was a photo that I had displayed on my wall growing up, always hoping to see it in person. Looking and understanding the architecture up close made it 10x more impressive to me. 

A study abroad student standing in front of a large stone arch

The Arc de Triomphe. 

The Louvre 

Not only is the entire building beautiful and interesting, but specifically the glass pyramid that acts almost as a skylight for the museum is what enthralled me.  

A person sitting on a ledge in front of a glass pyramid

The Louvre. 

The Chateau de Vincennes 

The Chateau de Vincennes is something that I hadn’t heard of before arriving in Paris, but learning about it structurally both inside and out was a valuable experience.  

A large white building with a door

The Chateau de Vincennes.

The Notre Dame 

Seeing the Notre Dame under construction was a unique experience for me, getting to see how they’re physically building it back up after the fire. 

A study abroad student standing in front of a large building

Construction at Notre Dame. 

The Chateau de Versailles 

The Chateau de Versailles is famous for a reason. Every room is unique in both decor and its structural make-up, making every room new and interesting to explore. 

A study abroad student in a green dress in front of a large building

Unique decor and structure in Chateau de Versailles rooms. 

The London Eye 

Additionally, my time abroad allowed me to travel to other countries nearby France and experience their specific types of engineering. My favorite opportunity was when I visited London and looked at, learned about, and rode the London Eye. As a student who is interested in themed entertainment engineering as a career, seeing and learning about such a prominent ride was eye-opening and enjoyable to me. 

A ferris wheel in front of a city

The London Eye is somewhere that I couldn’t visit had I not studied abroad with CEA CAPA, but while in Europe, I finally experienced this attraction. 

Study Abroad Excursions 

I learned in the famous parts of Europe during CEA CAPA excursions, but also from some everyday things that I don’t have access to in U.S., such as the metro system or large passenger boats. 

Two study abroad students taking a selfie along a river

This photo features myself and one of my friends who I met during my study abroad experience at the river, after the CEA CAPA boat ride. This night interested me because I enjoy learning about the process of creating and sailing a boat. 

I experienced both and gained a firmer understanding of how they work, why they’re useful, and maybe even gained some ideas on how they could improve in the future.  

Loire Valley Castles 

At one of the castles in Loire Valley, a CEA CAPA sponsored excursion, we observed and learned many fine details about the castles, this one specifically having almost perfect symmetry down the center.  

A tall building with a tower

Symmetrical castle in Loire Valley. 

Again, in Loire Valley, this was an experience where we saw the construction of the castle, the large gardens, and took a boat ride around the castle, where I saw so much about structure that I didn’t know before. 

A castle with Château de Chenonceau over water

Boat ride around the castle. 

My studies abroad helped me understand the world a little better and CEA CAPA specifically allowed me to experience some of these items firsthand.


Adriana Kelley is the Summer 2023 Alumni Ambassador in Paris, France, and is currently studying at University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
 
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