My parents just came to Paris for the first time for a brief 3-day visit. As we were walking around the city, enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures, my dad said while taking photos of Notre Dame, “How do you find the time to concentrate on schoolwork with all of this beauty around you?” I laughed at him and I said, I’m not sure, but it is hard!” I never had to think about that. This is now the third time I’ve lived in Paris, and I’ve had so many opportunities to explore the wonders here. This time around, it’s all a bit different for me.

It made me really think a bit after my dad said that to me. It’s one of the benefits of being able to do my MBA here in Paris. I’m surrounded by complete cultural immersion. French art, music, theater, cuisine and history are all at my fingertips and I often don’t even appreciate it nor have the opportunity to explore it. It wasn’t until my parents visit me that I remembered how it feels to be in such a magical place.

When I saw my parents see the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triumph for the first time, their faces lit up with wonder and delight. It reminded me what it’s like to be “wowed” and feel so amazed by Paris. We often get so mixed up into our own lives (wherever it may be) that we lose sight of the greatness that surrounds us. After a long reflection, I looked around at all the Parisians on my train home from work and thought to myself, “I wonder if they ever feel like they are missing out on what their city has to offer.”

My dad had an excellent point! How do you balance doing all your schoolwork and being able to go out and exploring the city? In my opinion, it all goes back to being organized, prioritizing your schedule and making sure you have enough time to experience the things you want to see. It’s almost too simple to not forget to stop and smell the roses when you have three final assignments due. It’s also important to go out there and make some friends that you can share experiences with. I found that the other students at ISM have a lot of the same aspirations and even enjoy the same things across the board, which makes it relatively easy to take an adventure together.

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