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Campus Comeback: Post-Paris Experience

Aidan discusses his experience coming back from Paris with a fresh perspective.

Aidan discusses his experience coming back from Paris with a fresh perspective.

I know it is super cliché to say that an abroad experience will change your life. However, after coming back from my Off-Campus Study in Paris last term, I have realized that it is more true than fiction. I am more excited than ever to be back on campus— even during a Minnesota winter. Although Paris is… well… Paris, there were a lot of things from Carleton that I missed during my time abroad, and I am excited to tell you about those things here.

The People

I am trying hard to not sound corny, but it is true. The people at Carleton are special. Yes, I enjoyed the time I spent with my friends abroad, but Carleton’s community has always been like a family to me. The playful banter with my peers and my professors (especially those in the Religion department) was dearly missed.

My interest house community was also missed, even the community built within a PE class! Having someone to chat with about anything at any time of the day was a perk, I had definitely been taking for granted. 

lenny dee friends
Me and some members of my comedy group that I miss dearly.



The starkest difference between the French university system and Carleton is the relationships with professors. It is undeniable that at Carleton your professors care about you. I have had dinner with a French professor and seen a friend’s Political Science professor come to our comedy show, in addition to the normal stuff (office hours, etc.). Feeling seen and appreciated by professors really makes a world of difference. I feel particularly passionate about learning at Carleton because these professors make learning feel special and cool.


Honestly, this one confused even me. This is not to say I never studied in Paris, but sure, having some extra time in Paris to explore was nice. I think what I missed more than studying itself was the culture at Carleton. Everyone is so passionate about learning here, and it makes me enjoy studying so much more. I craved nothing more than an intellectual debate on fourth libe or a casual conversation in French with a friend. I know all my conversations were in French in Paris, but it feels different at Carleton!


carls in France
My friend Maxine and I explored a Parisian building we learned about in one of our French classes!

Being Back

My biggest takeaway from being off campus was definitely how special this school really is.  Before this experience, I, like many Carls, had never gone to a different college/university. So this experience reaffirmed for me that Carleton is one of my favorite places in the world! I am even more thankful to be going here now than ever before, and am excited to make the most of all of the relatively short time I have left here!



Aidan (he/him) is a junior from Batavia, IL coming back to Northfield after a semester abroad in Paris. He is a Religion and French and Francophone Studies double major with a passion for ceramics. Outside of class, he enjoys spending his time cooking, hanging out with his housemates in the Culinary Interest House, and performing in Carleton’s sketch comedy group. You can often find him at the campuses’ two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager.