Christine Watson, July 7th, 2017
When I finally got home from the airport, my family asked me, “Well, how was it?!”. I didn’t even know where to begin to start telling them all of the adventures we went on and all of the memories that were made throughout the past five weeks. From hiking the Swiss Alps to lying on the beaches of Barcelona, the 32 of us made memories that we will never forget. A huge thank you to Dr. Gaspar and assistants for making this trip possible, and thank you Mrs. Coyez for how passionate you were about teaching us everything we needed to know about the European Union. It has been an eye opening experience learning how other countries work together to challenge each other and set goals to encourage its people to succeed. And also, another huge thanks to my wonderful parents for helping make this trip possible J. It has been such an incredible experience to travel and study with such an awesome group of students. I am so fortunate to have gotten to know everyone and have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Who knew people lived in such a different world. When I walked into the grocery store in France for the first time, I realized why everyone was so fit and skinny. Our HEB’s are 15-20 times the size of their tiny little food stores. The portions at dinner are much smaller, yet the families and friends that go to eat stay twice as long. That is one thing that I enjoyed about Europe, is that everyone emphasizes setting time aside each day to enjoy one another’s company. We as Americans are all about fast service and are always go go going, when we are missing out on so much in life. I will definitely want to bring the concept of quality time back to America with me.
If you asked me what my favorite weekend was, I don’t think I could be able to answer it. Everywhere we went was absolutely breathtaking, with Switzerland definitely being one of them. Whitewater rafting through the freezing waters of the Swiss Alps was one of the most exhilarating and one of the coldest moments of my life. I don’t think I can ever complain about being hot ever again after jumping in the ice-cold glacier waters. The next weekend in Paris was as if we were living in a dream. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time was a moment that I will never forget. You see it in pictures and movies all the time, but seeing it in real life sent chills down my spine. Sitting under it at night was absolutely breathtaking, seeing thousands of lights twinkle in the night sky. The next weekend we went to Barcelona. After our bike tour the first day, I fell in love with the city and culture. Jumping in the cold waters of the Mediterranean on a hot summer day was so much fun! We also went on a night cruise around the coast of which was a blast as well. The final weekend in Munich was icing on the cake. We visited Dachau on the second day and I will never forget walking through the main gates of the concentration camp. The air even felt weird while walking around the camp and the aura is still so incredibly sad even after so many years. On a happy note, the Englischer Gartens were a blast as well! We were able to find a spot to jump in and float down the river.
After every weekend, we would walk out of the train stations and make our way back to Citidines, our new home away from home. I sure do miss waking up every morning with my friends and walking together to class, but living with them will be something that I will never forget. So thank you Texas A&M for such an incredible opportunity that I will be able to hold onto for the rest of my life.