Chris Biehl ’16 – As a first time international traveler, I was extremely nervous for our journey from Indianapolis to Newark International to Paris, France. I’m happy to say that my experiences in both airports were nothing but pleasant and after a layover in New Jersey and an eight-hour flight across the Atlantic, we arrived in Paris at 7 am Central European time zone.
When we arrived in France it was a breeze to find our luggage and we began heading to our hotel, Moulin Vert. As we were waiting on a bus our group witnessed what was believed to be a vendor getting arrested by the French police. I thought this was interesting because I’ve never seen anyone get arrested in the United States and it was funny to me that this was the first thing I see.
After witnessing the possible vendor get arrested we rode from the bus into the city. My initial reactions to the city were surprising. My assumed image was wrong. All the people I saw did not dress radically different, they drove on the same side that we do, and a good amount of French citizens are bilingual.
My biggest fear was not being able to communicate or find my way around due to the language barrier. With help from my French 101 & 102 class and the amount of French people who speak English I have had no problem communicating or finding my way around.
Nutella is everywhere. I’ve been to two super markets looking for an outlet converter and they’re entire shelves of Nutella. That being said, the lack of peanut butter is saddening. I knew that peanut butter was scarce in France but I am unable to find any yet.
Other cultural differences I have noticed are transportation. While people do drive, the majority of people get around by foot, scooter, or roller blades. I honestly haven’t seen someone in the United States on roller blades since I was a child.