Tolu Familoni

June 01, 2020

When it happened

It was very drastic. I first heard about it slowly, then everything abruptly stopped. The city was running smoothly, but within one week things were shutting down and we had to leave. I actually just came back from a trip to South Africa, so I was tired and getting over jet lag, then I realized I had to leave, and I only got to say goodbye to the people I lived with before taking the last flight out of France to the U.S. The coronavirus outbreak caused me to return home a week earlier than expected, which isn’t as bad

as it could have been. I just had to take my finals online in the U.S. I was able to experience the majority of my program, so having to return early wasn’t terrible, and being able to see my family made the transition back a lot smoother. The hardest part was that I didn’t have the closure I probably would have. 

Coming home

It wasn’t too bad since I came back to my family in LA. Just a little weird. I tried to quarantine myself, but I mainly just stayed home. I came back to Santa Cruz for spring quarter and I am just staying in my pajamas, being proactive, getting work done, and I am so ready to finish.  

Looking back at your experience

I miss being able to affordably travel to neighboring countries and having movie nights with my housemates every Wednesday night. I’d have to say that my favorite memory from my study abroad experience was my first solo trip to Portugal. I had heard great things about Portugal and asked my friends if anyone else wanted to go. When no one else did, I decided to still go by myself. I researched a great hostel that took you on day trips, met a nice group of people, saw many castles, and used the metro to get around. It showed me how independent and adventurous I can be. 

For future students studying abroad

I would highly recommend studying abroad at all costs! This is one of the only moments in our lives that we will have the time to take a quarter or semester to travel the world. I even stayed a fifth year to be able to experience it. And Paris was absolutely amazing, I would definitely recommend it for anyone choosing between programs. I actually decided on Paris because there aren’t many options for winter quarter. Friends told me Parisians don’t like Americans and there would be lots of protests, but I found people to be very sweet. Paris was a city with 20 different cities, it was beautiful, very centrally located in Europe, and had lots of places to get involved. I even joined a church where we had study groups and dinners together. Overall I feel like studying abroad matures you and gives you a new broader perspective on life and the world.