Upon entering her third year at UGA, Maddie Jackson decided to spend six weeks in Paris this summer immersing herself in an unfamiliar culture and learning from new experiences.
Without knowing anyone on the trip, Jackson left for Paris with a lot of anticipation of the friendships she would make and the community she could build abroad. Before choosing a roommate, she recalled looking over the list of names on the trip and saw one that stood out to be familiar.
“I recognized her name and I was like I’m pretty sure this girl lived on my hall freshman year like a couple rooms up from me and she was the only person I kind of knew and then we ended up being roommates,” says Jackson. Along with a new roommate, she quickly found that her cohort of 34 would soon become some of her closest friends.
On a typical day after class, Jackson and her friends sat out by the Eiffel Tower going over lectures and on weekends they visited museums in the area like The Louvre. They also became fond of the cafes in the area as she and her friends spent most of their time travelling by foot walking around and discovering different nooks of the city.
“We learned the metro pretty quickly but walking just gave you a different experience,” says Jackson, “We were in walking distance to everything. I ate so many crepes it was ridiculous. I think one time I had a banana and nutella crepe that I still dream about.”
Aside from sightseeing and dining, Jackson took two international affairs classes on the history of democracy in Paris and international terrorism, material she found relevant as a political science and public relations double major.
“Well the terrorism class focused a lot on ISIS,” says Jackson, “It’s very close to where we were and we went on a field trip after one of our classes and visited all the sites of the November attacks.”
In comparison to the traditional UGA lecture hall class setting, Jackson enjoyed this smaller learning environment because it forced her to be intentional and actively participate and interact with her professors and peers.
Jackson made the most of her summer in Paris taking classes that peaked her interests, forging new friendships, and immersing herself in a culture she will never forget.