Makenna has the opportunity to go on an optional trip to Paris with other CAPA London students, where she breaks out of her comfort zone and bonds with the CAPA community in the culture-filled city she has always dreamed of visiting.
Read more about the highlights of the Paris excursion, from a visit to the Luxembourg gardens to a boat ride down the River Seine.
Prior to our arrival in London, CAPA made students heading to London aware of a trip to Paris*. It was offered at a discounted price that included two days of breakfast, two nights in a hotel, metro tickets, a boat tour, and Eurostar (train) tickets.
I was hesitant about touring Paris because it’s always been one of my dream cities. I expected to fall in love with it and worried that going with a large group would ruin the moment. On the morning we left for Paris about 40 students arrived at St. Pancras, heightening my worry. However, upon returning from Paris, I’m so glad I didn’t let my cynicism get the best of me this time. Here are a few reasons I’m glad I went to Paris with CAPA students:
By the time the Paris trip had rolled around, I was in a solidified group of friends. These are the people I get together with on weekends and after class. They’re who I call when I’m looking for someone to adventure with and who I’ve planned my fall break trip with. They are my favorite people right now and I’m so glad to have them, but it also means I’ve become comfortable enough to stop looking for other connections within the program. Going on this CAPA trip forced me to break out of my shell a little bit and take advantage of the opportunity to get to know a few of my classmates better.
We stayed in the Bastille area and explored the lively streets together.
A Tour Guide
Tours are not my favorite; however, having a person to at least point you in the right direction when in a new city is always helpful. We weren’t expected to take part in all of the tour, so it provided some much needed freedom. We found balance while taking a boat tour down the river together and looking up in awe at the Eiffel Tower, then splitting up to see the things we wanted to when we were finished.
The Eiffel Tower from the river on a rainy day.
A friend of mine, Brianna, under the Eiffel Tower. I’ve found that carrying a camera gives me the chance to snap photos of friends while we are exploring.
A Crowd Who Understands
There’s something so special about sharing moments with people who just get it. Since it was my first time in Paris, I was nervous, excited, and everything in between. I got to share that feeling with fellow students who had never been to Paris. We were able to talk about what things we wanted to see and how they related to our time in London.
Aside from sharing the Paris experience, we also shared London experiences. It was refreshing to talk about classes and future plans with the people I see milling about the CAPA center in an outside setting. The fresh air and adventure seemed to open everyone up to conversation.
Luxembourg Gardens: We walked when the Parisians walked and enjoyed the beautiful gardens.
I was worried that going to Paris in a big group of CAPA students would steal the city’s magic, but I found that I really enjoyed getting to know new people. I connected with friends who I share classes or accommodations with. The Paris trip was a great way to get to know the CAPA community while safely navigating the charming, culture-filled city.
*The Paris trip is not a program inclusion - it’s provided by a third-party tour company called SomeWhere New. SomeWhere New is a tour operator based in London that CAPA has a close working relationship with. Due to this close relationship they offer CAPA students some discounted tours which will be advertised to students both pre-departure and in-country. These tours are separate to CAPA programs and are open to students outside of CAPA programs. Check out their website for their all-inclusive tours from London and don't forget to tell them you are a CAPA student for any possible discounts!
Makenna Sturgeon is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
Makenna's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.