M1 Year Reflections: Melissa Hamoush

My first year was tougher than I expected it would be. I had to move from Lebanon where I lived my entire life and start a new life of my own in Paris. It was hard leaving my parents, since I’m an only child, but I ended up making it and making them proud as well.

Living alone was hard in the beginning since firstly, I had never lived in a different country than Lebanon before and secondly, because I had to discover this new city on my own, which didn’t turn out to be such a bad thing, to be honest. I was surprised of how fast I got a hang of things here, but I would still get lost occasionally on the streets in the funniest ways imaginable. The great thing about living in Paris, in my own opinion, is that there is always something to do or something to see. Museums, parks, amusement parks, events, and just the occasional stroll in the city as well. One cannot get bored from living in his magnificent city, and if that situation does happen you can always pack a light bag and travel somewhere close.

I had the opportunity to see a bit of Europe since my move here and I visited the Netherlands, the Alps of France, and Rome. Hopping on a train and arriving to a different country in just a few hours was a dream come true and I was overwhelmed by the excitement of seeing new cities and learning about new cultures as often as I possibly can. After getting all settled in and starting the academic year in September, I had somewhat of an expectation on how the classes were going to be, but that was not the reality that I faced during my first year. I did not find the classes to be as organized as I was used to but they ended up passing smoothly, with a few occasional bumps here and there. I am hoping that the professors do take our critiques seriously and attempt to better the classes for the new coming students and for the years to come. It was great, however, being in a class that was extremely diverse and filled with such intelligent people.

Getting to know my peers throughout the year was “la crème de la crème” of my entire experience. From the very first weeks spent together in Rennes, through the horrible unorganized French administrational system, and till the very last days of class I built this friendship with my classmate that is just amazing and I now consider them as my new Paris family. I am actually looking forward to meeting all the new students, whether M1’s or M2’s, that will start this fall, but it saddens me that we are not going to be in the same class as we were this past year. Also, being a part of the PHIN team this year, as secretary, was such a wonderful experience. We got to update PHIN and showcase our personalities and goals, as the new team, and that was exciting to see how fast we were able to transition and how great the outcome has been.

This past year has been such a world wind of excitement and adventures and I cannot wait to see how my second year in this program is going to be like.

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