The Marvel of Travel

Esinam G. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from The Madeira School in Virginia.

March. It is truly difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that it is month seven of SYA. I keep trying to savor each moment, recall memories from September without leaving out any details. My friends and family often ask me, “What has been your greatest memory or experience so far?” I typically mention one that is most recent or one that sounds the most educational if I am speaking to my parents. As time is zooming by, I keep coming back to this question and why we place so much emphasis on precise, specific and grand moments. Travelling, especially to France, holds a special significance in American culture. Renowned authors like Baldwin, Stein and Fitzgerald describe their adventures in France through their various works and accredit it for being a place of change or “the sanction, if one can accept it, to become oneself” as Baldwin put it. France is a promise that never breaks to recreate and reinvent ourselves. So recently, I asked myself, “Have I changed?” The answer simply put is yes. Even if I cannot always pinpoint those changes in myself, I see them in my temperament, my thought process, my opinions and my decisions. I want to accredit one moment; I keep searching for one moment but there isn’t just one.

I, like many others, am constantly focused on the grand moments. First, it was going to high school and when that was not what I thought it would be, my grand moment became finding an out. I found SYA, I applied and the minute I got my acceptance, the only thing worthy in my life was making it to my salvation. When I got here, my focus turned into a multitude of goals and very anticipated trips. At each success, I moved onto the next big thing, the next marking point and thus forgetting the sensational beauty of the moments in-between. 

The touch down onto the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle would not be significant had I not gone through the process of applying to a year abroad program. The initial relief I felt when I met the most incredible people would have meant nothing without the nights I stayed up worrying if I would find them. Every lasting encounter has many preceding factors that define it.

Applying to SYA did not change me on its own. It was every single “in-between” starting with my search for change. It was the countless pleasant dinners with my friends and host family. The infinite interactions I have had in a building on Allé Ste Marie and the moments throughout my time here that sparked change. There was no one big moment without many small ones that formed it.

My advice future SYA students: Listen to the subtleties of travel and experiences and let them imprint themselves in your memory. The “in-betweens” are most definitely worthy of being treasured, cherished and kept close to your heart.

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