The trip wasn’t what I expected, which is a good thing considering I was worried. I came in with the idea that we had a strict schedule, that day by day we’d go where was needed like robots. But in reality we had a choice which as a teenager you don’t really get. The program teaches you how to compromise and deal with new situations; it gave me a new sense of responsibility. And we learned in the simplest of ways, by picking what restaurant to go to or where to order in from. Where we want to go and what time; dealing with money and deadlines. We got the chance to be independent and with that came having to deal with the other people in your group. Whether you like someone or not you have to be civil. You are in a different country there’s no time for fighting only for enjoying. I came in thinking I would hate it because I wouldn’t get along with my group and now I can’t imagine being without these students everyday. Coming to France allowed me to experience a new place, a different language. You see the big and small differences between here and back home, you find things you love (the desserts), things your hate (the cheese). I had such a great time exploring different areas of France and what was in them like the sights, the museums, the restaurants. And the longer we stood here the more I began to dread coming back home. You can’t have any expectations for this program because when you’re actually here it’s a whole new world to get used to. And if I could come and do another trip I would in a heart beat.
-Destiny on her overall experience
Given the culinary focus of these past four weeks, it makes sense that food seems to be the root of the growth I’ve witnessed in myself throughout this experience. The first couple of days, which we spent in Paris, didn’t demand much flexibility of diet. It wasn’t until the homestay in Pierrelatte that I had to abandon the yogurt-fruit-salad routine I live by at home. My family and I worked through occasional communication issues to get to know one other through food; at almost every meal my mom and I exchanged anecdotes about French and American cuisine. Our trip to Lyon has brought us even closer to French cuisine as we prepare delicious French meals at the Institut Paul Bocuse, eat at Lyonnaise restaurants, and explore Les Halles Paul Bocuse. This past week of classes has been by far my favorite part of the trip; I’ve gotten to work with so many ingredients I can’t access at home, and I think we all have come to appreciate on a deeper level what goes into our bodies. For example, after having to boil crayfish in class on Tuesday, I decided to return to a vegetarian diet. This trip has brought me new friends, new foods, and new impressions of life: how it is lived here in France, as well as how it manifests in the things we cook and eat.
-Grace on her overall experience
This trip has definitely changed my life and opened my eyes to European culture. Ever since the first day, I have felt deeply immersed in French culture. My speaking has improved along with my understanding of customs and daily life. The homestay taught me amazing lessons that I could have never learned in an American classroom, and Lyon blessed me with amazing food and the art found in the intricacies of cooking. Paris is such a beautiful city that will always be significant to me.
-Henry on his overall experience
This past month in France has been the greatest time I’ve had. I’ve got to meet so many new and friendly people on this trip. I’ve also got to go to amazing places in France like the Eiffel Tower and the Paul Bocuse cooking school. This has just been an amazing adventure and I would love to come back some time to explore some more.
-Abigail on her overall experience
This trip has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and have different experiences. Whether it’s with new people, places or food, if I keep an open mind it’s so much easier to enjoy myself. Having this positive outlook has made this trip so much better and helped me take advantage of everything The Experiment has done for us. As this month comes to a close I’ve realized how many things that I never would have done without the motivation of my leaders and friends, who I met only a few weeks ago.
-Bella on her overall experience