The fifth week of the program brought our time in Montpellier to an end. We had all done so much and seen so many places in the past 5 weeks. For many of us, it was our first time traveling to Europe and it was an incredibly inspiring time for us. I had learned so much about European and French culture and felt so grateful to have had this experience. I had also come to learn a lot about the culture in New Orleans, and how it differs from the northern culture I have always known in Philadelphia.
The beginning of the last week was much like the past weeks. On Wednesday of that week we had our final exams in each of our classes. This was a bit stressful, but we were all relieved once they were over. Thursday of this last week was a free day. It gave us time to pack and get ready to leave; we had to leave the residence halls by noon on Friday. Thursday also happened to be the hottest day of the entire trip. Because of this, many of us did not even have the motivation to go downtown, even though it was our last day in Montpellier. Instead, many of us hung out at the dorms and reminisced on the past five weeks. It ended up being a perfect day to reflect on the trip and appreciate the experience.
On Thursday night, the program took us to a restaurant for a farewell dinner. The restaurant was a bit far away, in the countryside. It had an outdoor section where we were able to socialize and give toasts before dinner. Some of the professors and coordinators gave short toasts to commemorate the trip. It was just as special to them as it was to many of us. When we got back to the dorms, after the dinner, we all said our goodbyes. This was a hard thing to do, especially to those that lived in New Orleans. However, it made us all the more grateful for the friendships we had formed.
By the end of the program, I think that most of us realized that one of the most amazing parts of the program was that it was done with students from Drexel and from the University of New Orleans. Everyone from both of the universities mixed so well and we were able to make life long friendships with people that are from a totally different part of our own country. Having students from two different places made the program feel much more diverse and allowed for many different perspectives to be brought to the table. The program would not have been the same rich experience if it was done with solely Drexel students. I am forever grateful for my new friends in New Orleans, and excited to have a place (many places) to stay when I go to visit!