May 3rd, 2017, 06:13 PM

An Open Letter to AUP

By Melisa Ulkumen
Image Credit: Tallulah Novogratz
The curtain closes for partner students' time at AUP.

Coming full circle from orientation week, I stood on the "River's King" at the end of the year boat party and began to reflect on my time at AUP. Most people on campus are aware that there are a significant number of students that come to the American University of Paris with intentions to transfer at the end of the year. However, not all the partner students fully expected to fall madly in love with the magic that comes with studying in Paris. Despite the countless complaints about the weather from the predominantly Californian USC partner students, and the fines from Comforts of Home, there is no denying that we are going to miss it immensely. 

"I'm going to miss my friends the most. Crepes and baguettes are temporary, but the friendships I have formed here in Paris are forever."
—Tatum Van Dam

Image Credit: Kaitlin Lockington

No art history or architecture class will ever compare to the museum visits to Musée du Louvre and Sainte-Chapelle. There is nothing quite like being in the presence of Monet's Water Lilies while learning about his technique or composition. Not only did we discover culture through our classes but through traveling without relying on our parents to help us survive. There won't be many other instances in our lives when we will be able to casually visit Versailles or a nearby country over the weekend. We were granted the freedom to navigate ourselves in different cities in the world such as Fes, Amsterdam, and Rome, and to surprisingly make it out alive. A luxury that we simply will not have once we attend our respective schools Stateside. The perspective and experiences that we have gained from our time here is something that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. 

"I can't wait to be at a random TKE party and see someone from AUP and be like 'Remember that one time at we were in Paris.'"
—Katie Angel

Image Credit: Candace McKeag

We will never forget aimlessly wandering the Champs Elysees after being rejected from clubs and going back to The Doux to "sesh" at the end of a sleepless night. Whether the night went according to plan or took an unexpected turn of events, it was always memorable. From getting sloppy in the Uber to somehow ending up at Bull's Brothers and drunkenly buying gyros and french fries, every moment was noteworthy. Beyond the crazy nights, we have made friendships that will last a lifetime. Our friends from Paris have witnessed us at our worst, crying with our heads dipped inside of toilet seats, and our best, coming to realizations about who we are. Although they may have distracted us from school, these are the friends that watched us grow and will always have a special place in our hearts. Undoubtedly, we will drive all our friends from home crazy when we start to begin every sentence with, "When I was in Paris." No one else will understand the tropes and inside jokes that we attempt to explain as we scroll through endless photos of Oktoberfest in Germany, glaciers in Iceland, and spring break in Spain. You just had to be there.

"One of my favorite memories would definitely be playing beer die under the Eiffel Tower with the homies for the first time"
—Ben Glenney

From now on, the iconic Ikea picture of the Eiffel Tower and the classic gray Comforts of Home blankets will hold a completely different meaning for us. Reminiscent of hanging out on the Champs de Mars and our commutes to school. Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to walk along the Seine with our earphones in, pretending to be in a Woody Allen movie. For most of us, this will be the last time that we are living abroad while we are this young. Even if we come back a few years from now, we will have the innate limitations that come with being adults and not be able to justify our reckless behavior. But, we will without a doubt always be around to share embarrassing stories and pictures from our lives here.

Image Credit: Kaitlin Lockington

Here's what some partner students had to say about their time here:

What will you miss the most about AUP/Paris?

"I think what I will miss the most about AUP and Paris is definitely the relaxed lifestyle and culture of Parisians, the ability to travel around Europe, and learning in such a multicultural environment." —Elle Murphy

"Aside from being able to see the tip of the Eiffel Tower from my window, and being able to casually visit the most iconic museums in the world, I think I will definitely miss the people the most. I've met so many amazing people during my time here and have made the most wonderful friends. It's the people that make the place I think, and the people I've met, the students, and the teachers, made Paris home." —Kian Amini

"I'm going to miss sipping red wine on a street corner with a plate of charcuterie, watching ladies with bold lipstick and men wearing scarves walk by." —Katie Angel

What is one word that you would use to describe your time here?

"It's hard to choose one word but I guess, surreal." —Kayla Sison

"Memorable." —Khady Kane

"Hectic." —Ben Glenney

Do you think you will ever come back?

"I hope so. I'd be down. That'd be fire." —Kian Amini

"Without a doubt, yes. It's definitely not a normal first-year college experience, but living in Paris has taught me much more than any textbook could. Paris is the city of love, and it's safe to say that I have fallen for it."
—Tatum Van Dam


As the countdown to our departure drops to single digits, we need to remember that every moment is fleeting but Paris will always be here to welcome us back with open arms. So, with that being said, thank you to AUP and to Paris for having us.