Bienvenue a Paris!
Every year I get to experience it all over again.
The wonder and joy of being in Paris for the first time.
The heady feeling that you are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The feeling of semi-disbelief that it can actually be happening…to you!
I get to experience these feelings all over again, every time I welcome a new group of students to Paris.
Most of my students have already arrived–a few more will be here soon, after having won their battles with various bureaucratic details and other challenges (like passports, and visas, and planes missed by only 20 minutes!).
They are full of all the right stuff to make their time in Paris a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience.
They want to learn. They want to learn French. They want to learn about the history of this place. They want to know about Versailles, and Charles de Gaulle, and the Bastille, and Edith Piaf. They want to go to the art museums and learn about art. They want to get to know French people and find out if it’s really true that they hate Americans. (They kind of don’t believe that it is.)
They will learn all this, and more.
Many of them will learn to be on their own for the first time. To make good decisions about how they spend their time and what they choose to get out of this experience.
They will discover new parts of themselves, and let other parts go (the parts that were holding them back from whoever it is they most want to become)–once, and for all.
It is a privilege and a joy to be working with people who have such wonderful dreams, such open minds and hearts, such a willingness and determination to succeed.
Welcome to Paris through the Eyes of Travelers, class of 2009. I’m so glad you’re here!
Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor and teacher of writing and literature based in Silver Spring, Maryland. She teaches literature courses in Paris and Hawaii for the Education Abroad program at Queens College, CUNY, and twice a year she offers Writing from the Heart workshops in a beautiful little village in the Champagne region of France.