This past summer was probably the best summer of my entire life. I studied abroad in Paris through the Viterbi Overseas program! This program was unique because 40 students from Viterbi took classes that counted toward their major with professors from Viterbi. In other words, we were not affiliated with a university in Paris. It was just a small part of Viterbi transplanted from Los Angeles to Paris.
I took Writing 340, an advanced writing class required of all majors at USC, and ISE 460, an engineering economy class. Although ISE 460 was not a biomedical engineering class, it counted as one of my technical electives. Our first week of classes started at the end of May. Classes ran from 9 AM to 1 PM, Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, Viterbi organized day trips for us so that we could explore cities outside of Paris. We went to Chartres to visit a famous cathedral, where we learned how to read the biblical stories illustrated on the stained-glass windows. On another Friday, we traveled to Reims, which is known for its champagne. We got to tour one of the most popular champagne houses! On weekends, we walked around the city, admiring the beautiful Parisian boulevards, cafes, and gardens. I lived in an apartment that was a seven-minute walk from the Eiffel tower and a seven-minute walk to the Seine river. In the afternoons, I would go for a run around the Eiffel tower and along the Seine. It felt like a dream.
After classes during the week, we would visit museums. My favorite museum was the Musée d’Orsay, which is known for its Impressionist paintings. Impressionism originated in the 1860s when French artists began to paint everyday scenes like snapshots in time. I loved how Claude Monet painted waterlilies and how Paul Signac painted sailboats. Other museums I recommend going to are the Musée de l’Orangerie and Centre Pompidou.
The best part of studying abroad was I got to know so many students in Viterbi that I otherwise may not have met. I enjoyed being on the same schedule as everyone and wanting to do the same thing: make the most of living in one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. It’s been a few weeks into the school year, and I have already caught up with a lot of them. We have reminisced about the time we had together that we will never forget. We all agree that we will definitely go back to Paris!