Tasting Another World
I have seen cities with skyscrapers in the clouds before, and ventured into subways deep underground. New York City and Chicago were marvels in their own respect, but Paris seemed different.
Thanks to a scholarship through the Washburn Mass Media Department, I had the opportunity to travel abroad for Spring Break’s International Media Seminar in Paris. The purpose of the trip was a series of seminars for mass media majors in various specialties, with prominent speakers in each field who connected us with our career paths on a global scale. It was a unique opportunity as it was a short trip, and yet it also had many different cultural stops. It was just what I needed on my first time out of the United States: a taste of another world.
There is no better way to understand the atmosphere of any location than by watching the way people interact and carry themselves. The people of Paris are humbled by reminders of the war-torn years of 20th-century Europe, but proud of their country and identity. There were a few nights I sat in cafes and conversed with Parisians, soaking in the passion with which they talked about the future; France was in the middle of their presidential election during this time. As our class traversed the streets, we saw architecture rich in detail and history; it greatly complimented the people. The scars of World War II are still present in bullet holes marking old buildings, which showed me living history in a way America never could.
Beyond the streets, we browsed France’s prized artistic possessions. We ventured to the Musee D’Orsay first, as an appetizer to a later visit to the Louvre. Our tour guide was exceptionally well-versed and warm, guiding us through the scarlet chambers that housed works including those by Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh and more.
There is one mass media experience I wish to mention: a meeting with Jim Bittermann, the Senior Correspondent for CNN’s International Branch in Paris. We met with him in his rooftop office above the Champs-Elysees where he shared his decades of experience in international journalism with us, and this conversation opened my mind to a potential new pathway in my career. Without this meeting thanks to Washburn’s study abroad program, I would’ve never considered such a path.
The trip was rounded off with visits to the Louvre and Versailles, which both give additional testimony to Paris’s rich architectural and artistic history. Inside, we viewed Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the apparent crown jewel of the Louvre. The diverse crowd huddled around it agreed. The King’s Gardens at Versailles are unlike any landscape I have seen, with such effort put into their maintenance that they’re reminiscent of an Olympian paradise.
These photos portray what can be gained in cultural experiences even on small study abroad programs. I serve as testimony that regardless of major, tasting another world makes one’s home and career better educated and envisioned.
The Streets of Paris
Touring Musee D Orsay
Talking International CNN with Jim Bitterman
Stopping into the Louvre
A final trip to Versailles