Living outside of the United States has given me a new perspective about the world because instead of thinking inward about myself, my community, and my environment, I now think outwardly about how my thoughts and actions go beyond what I reach. For example, I have grown much more conscious of how much plastic I use since moving to Paris. This city is very eco-friendly and it isn't common to use things such as plastic silverware, plastic grocery bags, or to-go coffee cups (which often contain plastic coating!). When I noticed these things about the Parisians, it prompted me to do research and discover about how much plastic is damaging to our earth. I realized that if I changed my habits, it might influence others to do the same, and then we can change our footprint on the earth. This is a simple example but one that shows how when we step out of our cultural bubble, our viewpoint can change, our perspective can be broadened, and we can create good change. To end our program, we all participated in Reflections Abroad to bookend our program. It was a day of discussions and presentations about what students have learned and what we can do with this information as we move forward in life. One of my fellow students talked about her time interning here in Paris and what she gained from that experience. She said that oftentimes Americans focus on the tiny to-do tasks in a project because achievement in important in our culture but we often don't grasp the whole concept or idea. The French, however, approach projects with a broad overview. I heavily relate to this discovery because the more time I spend time in the French culture, the more broad my thinking is. Of course, it is important to focus on the details in life but we cannot forget to step back and remember our goals and our missions.
|Spring in Paris|
|A walk along the Seine|
As I reflect on studying abroad, I can say that I gained many practical skills, yes, but more importantly I gained a wider and deeper perspective on life in general. We can often get stuck in thinking about ourselves, focusing only about things that effect us or the close people around us, but if we are intentional, we can step out of what we know and what we're comfortable with to live a life of purpose, effectiveness, and intention.
|The columns at Palais Royal Garden|
Hannah K. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Paris, France. She is currently a Sophomore studying Entrepreneurship at Belmont University.
Hannah Kersey is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Belmont University.