Sep 27th, 2017, 04:34 PM

A Parisian Home or a Temporary Getaway?

By Leona Caanen
Image Credit: Ali Beau Nielsen
Homesick from 10,000km away.

Homesick (adj.) :
Longing for home and family while absent from them.

Moving to the city of light (and for those lucky enough the city of love) can be quite difficult and stressful. What if those you love are far away? What if there are numerous timezones and plane rides in between you and them? The feeling of being homesick can happen to everyone. No matter how close your family is to you.

Image Credit: Elizabeth Nguyen Son

Elizabeth Nguyen Son
Age: 21
Nationality: French
Major: Global Communications
Minor: International Law

Liz grew up in Milan and Singapore, before giving in to her French roots and moving back to Paris, where she was born. The Parisian life came with its perks: "Paris is kind of home in a way so I am really ecstatic about being here. I'm really grateful to be able to live in such a charming and beautiful city. I'm so close to my family in Paris... which I'm super happy about. It's one of the main reasons I chose to come to AUP." While Liz is now closer to her family in France, the absence of her parents impacts her strongly. "I miss my parents... Parental support is something that you can't really substitute with anything else." For Liz, her parents are an unconditional support system, and when you do not see them as often as desired, it can have a big impact on your day to day life. Liz states it will always remain a bittersweet feeling: "when I'm in Paris, I miss Singapore. And when I'm in Singapore, I miss Paris. I know I can't have my cake and eat it too, but I really wish we weren't a 13 hour plane ride away from each other."

Image Credit: Cristina Mendoza

Cristina Mendoza
Age: 22
Nationality: American/Colombian
Major: Journalism

Journalistic perspectives are constantly changing, and Cristina changed hers by moving to Paris; "AUP seemed like the perfect opportunity to go to a new school, and explore a new part of the world for me. I love the independence of living in a different country." The ability to explore a new city, meet new people, and creating a family away from home is something that Cristina is very excited to be doing. Yet homesickness comes knocking at the door of her new apartment sometimes. When asked what she misses most about home, which is Washington D.C., she said "My cat, my family, my daily routine at home... I talk to my parents multiple times a day, and try to FaceTime with my brother at least once a week." For Cristina, just like Liz, "it’s bittersweet being so far away from home... I remind myself that I’m in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I need to take full advantage of it and home will be waiting for me when I go back."

Image Credit: Jenda-Angelique Siao

Jenda-Angelique Siao
Age: 18
Nationality: American
Major: International Relations

Homesickness is a little more common when you just started the university life, yet not when it comes to Jenda-Angelique, better known to most as Angel. Living far away from home, with a whole continent and ocean between Paris and Los Angeles, does not seem to be an issue. Angel claims that she misses "my sisters and mom, but I like the independence I have in Paris." And while she would love to be able to share this experience with her family, she is happy to currently be making all her own decisions of her Parisian life.

Image Credit: Frances Bryte Darden

Frances Bryte Darden
Age: 18
Nationality: American
Major: Psychology

For Bryte, moving to the city has been a life-changing experience. Growing up in Marin County, California, Bryte is used to going on weekly hikes with her parents, two sisters and their dog. She misses "the constant nature back home. I love the outdoors and usually spend most of my time hiking mountains." Yet Bryte is very aware of the endless opportunities in Europe: "I am definitely feeling anxious and planning a trip to hike in the Swiss Alps... I am very happy to be in Paris and worried time is flying by too fast." Yet there is also excitement to return back home; "I will always miss home’s easy access to the golden hills above the coast for sunset."

Image Credit: Nicolas Nemtala

Nicolas Nemtala
Age: 22
Nationality: Bolivian
Major: International and Comparative Politics

On the verge of graduating from AUP, Nicolas Nemtala has not gotten rid of the occasional homesickness for Bolivia—mainly the homesickness for his family. Nico is a big family man, and while he does not miss "the mentality of some people at home—they can be very close-minded," he does miss his siblings and mother. Nico continues, "I miss being with family and the food of course. In Paris I never see mountains; also I never get to drive." Being a little more than 10,000km away from home isn't always easy, yet Nico says that he is "so happy to be in Paris... It feels good to be independent."

Homesickness happens to everybody, no matter how near or far your home is from university. The beautiful thing about growing up, however, is that you start to pick and choose the people that become your family not by blood, but by choice; and trust me on this one, you will find the friends you'll want to keep around for a long, long time.