fbpx En Route #1 — PCA

En Route #1


An Introduction

Hello! Long time no see, I hope you’ve had a restful summer break. I’m Ariel, a 4th year Communication Design student here at PCA. After completing my study abroad year in the US, I’ve returned to Paris for senior year, eager to rejoin my peers and reunite with my favorite city in the world. The city of lights and love, fashion and fromage. Too cliche?

It’s hard to contest that Paris is a city known for its cliches, the cobblestone streets, the glittering towers, the startling array of cheese. While it would be a mistake to reduce Paris to just these images, I can’t deny my fondness for this city’s cliches as it was the first place I made my own. Coming from a small rural town in the US where there were about as many cows as there were people, I haven’t forgotten how exciting Paris felt when I first arrived.

My first trip to Paris was actually my first year at PCA back in the Fall of 2019. I’d admired Paris, as almost all students of art are bound to, but I confess I hadn’t thought much about the city until I found myself making it my home. I’d been warned not to let my imagination run wild with idealizations, but only when I arrived myself and began to meet other expats did I discover why.

The robust romanticization of Paris is well documented, there’s even a name for the disillusionment some tourists face when first coming to the city. Though “Paris syndrome” is not known to be fatal, it can be a shock when one discovers that Paris is not all cliches and camembert. Luckily, I had very little time for daydreaming as it was not long after I’d been accepted to PCA that I found myself on a plane to France.

Once in Paris, any preconceived ideas I had vanished as I got to know the city as a resident. Freedom became a seven letter word: le métro, and my friends and I spent many blissful days outside of class discovering all the places it could take us. Now that I’m back, I find Paris as beautiful as I left it, and even after a year apart there’s something about this city that just makes me smile.

As this will be my final year as a PCA student, I thought I’d chronicle the journey and hopefully shed some light on the journey En Route to graduation, sharing any advice I can on life in Paris and PCA. Beyond my ultimate goal of, well, graduating, I also look forward to making the most of my final year here. It goes by faster than you think and I’m resolved to slow down and enjoy it as much as I can.

Being a college senior I’m allowed more free rein with my classes so it’s no surprise that I’m looking forward to being back in the classroom. I eagerly await the first day of classes, an excitement I’m told not all my peers share but nevertheless carries me through these last few days of summer break. The trickle of anxiety I do feel can be attributed to the fact that this is my thesis year, the most daunting hurdle that stands between me and my diploma.

However, it’s the hills and valleys together that make life a beautiful landscape and I greatly look forward to showing you glimpses of mine. With that introduction out of the way, I’ll leave you here for now. It’s been awhile since my orientation week, but this one piece of advice holds true no matter what year you’re entering. Enjoy this moment. In a matter of days, weeks, or months, Paris will start to feel like home and while that by itself is something to look forward to, you’ll never get to truly be a tourist again.

Until next time,

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