Katie Work sits in a boat on the Seine River.

European Tour

Beaver business major Katie Work is spending the semester abroad. First stop: Paris, France, where she's learning the metro system, (kind of) speaking French, and eating her weight in baguettes.

Editor's Note: Katie Work is spending the semester abroad and will blog about her experience here. You can also follow her on Instagram @runaway.kate

Monday, January 29

My name is Katie Work. I am a business management and marketing major with a minor in information sciences and technology. I am currently a junior at Penn State Beaver; however, for this semester, I took the opportunity to study in Europe. The program that I am enrolled in is called CIEE Global Institutes.

Through this program, I have a semester that is split into three blocks that last six weeks each. Not only do I have an amazing opportunity to study in a different country, I am able to study in three different countries. Each block, my location changes. For the first block, I am in Paris, France. In the second block, I will be in Rome, Italy. For the third block, I will be in Berlin, Germany.

At the moment, I am halfway through my first block in Paris. I must admit, I was hit with complete shock when I first arrived. It was immediately different than what I was used to. I live in an apartment that is about a 15-minute metro ride to my academic center. This is the first time that I have lived in a city. Nothing like diving head-first into one of the biggest cities in the world!

Paris is one of the most populated cities in Europe, so leaving a small community to go to such a populated area is overwhelming at first. Add in the facts that I can only babble through a conversation with an awkward mixture of French and English – which has earned me a reasonable amount of haughty looks – and that I do not fully understand the metro system and norms, and it equates to almost pure panic.

Once that panic is (mostly) set aside, there is so much beauty that can be found in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is just as breathtaking as could be imagined. Notre Dame is enchanting. Touring the Seine River on a boat is a must. The Louvre is absolutely amazing. The food is wonderful. Especially the bread ... oh my baguettes. If you think that I am eating my weight in bread and pastries, then you are absolutely correct. Every meal is most certainly washed down with a cup of espresso, as well.

Aside from all of the amazing stuff that I get to see and eat in Paris, I do still have to focus on my classes. Those classes that I used to dread on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.? I’ve got that beat. I have two classes – Entrepreneurship in Europe and Global Cinema – that last three hours and run three to four times a week.  Fortunately, each class balances out lectures with activities. For my entrepreneurship class, we got to visit a start-up brewery and complete a beer tasting. For Global Cinema, we get to visit a local cinema to watch and analyze a foreign film.

For my last three weeks in Paris, I cannot wait to continue to explore and learn (and eat) my way through. To follow my adventures more closely, check out my Instagram @runaway.kate

Until next time,