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September 5, 2019

Learn more about Asbury University’s Paris Semester!

By Kendall Jablonowski ‘21

PARIS, France — We’ve been in Paris studying abroad with Asbury University’s Paris Semester program for about a week now and I’ve loved getting to explore the city!

My third day here, I awoke with the urge to go for a quick run, so I asked our program director Dr. Linda Stratford — a full-time faculty member at Asbury — for recommendations on good running spots in Paris. She told me about a beautiful park in the middle of the city called Luxemburg Gardens.

She explained that all I had to do was walk there from campus by using the pocket map she had given us two days before. Asbury has been offering the Paris Semester for some time now, so the administrators really know the best ways to live and learn in this space.

I’ll admit, I’m always a little bit nervous going to unfamiliar areas, but with this I felt the motivation to run and explore the busy cobblestone streets of Paris to kick off my Parisian adventure.

On the way to the park, I had a real sense of how small I am within such a big, busy city. For me, this was a huge step and tremendous opportunity to trust God wholeheartedly with my life in a foreign place.

Once I arrived at the park, it was hard for me to even focus on running when I was distracted by all of the history surrounding me. The history behind the park dates all the way back to the early 16th-century. It was built on behalf of Henry V’s widow Marie de ’Medici.

 

Marie de ‘Medici was the mastermind behind the garden and palace. Her designs were heavily influenced by her memories in Florence, Italy. The park itself is filled with vibrant pink flowers, tennis courts, rugged squash players and beautiful tall stone statutes. While in the middle of the park, I stumbled across tennis courts and a cafe right next to it.

Instead of continuing my run, I decided to stop and reflect on my purpose for being abroad. I am surrounded by people sitting on benches silently reading books or just quietly meditating. I realized part of French culture is about just being content with where you are and that can even be sitting at a local cafe journaling, writing or painting. I am learning to be still and just be.

I’m at the cafe drinking my freshly made expresso and I realize there is so much beauty to praise God for on this incredible adventure. Why not go the extra mile to see what God has in store?

Dieu est bon (God is good),

Kendall