I have no idea where the snooty Parisian stereotype comes from. So far, I've made lots of 'friendships' on my way to or in Paris, and I've found that Parisians are willing to go out of their way to help you and befriend you, as long as you are polite. I sat next to a fellow study-abroader and sorority girl from SMU on the airplane, who was incredibly kind and empathetic and made my 8 hours aboard Delta flight 44 as pain-free as possible. After having trouble finding my airport shuttle, because I was directed to the wrong terminal for pick up, a AirFrance staff member named Ralib took care of everything for me, got another shuttle lined up straight away, and even gave me his phone number in case I need anything during my stay in Paris. The shuttle driver and I bonded over rush-hour traffic, and he even told me I was 'hyper-cool' for dealing with the delay. At my host-apartment on Avenue Victor Hugo, i've enjoyed the company of my Turkish host-mother, Sonia, who should brag about keeping a virtual United Nations of host-children, with deux Japonais, un Brésilien, et moi, l'Américaine. That being said, the others are leaving, since they are summer students. This means I get a room with a sweet view of La Tour Eiffel, but it also reminds me that I'm starting my SciencesPo orientation with a blank slate tomorrow.
I'm looking forward to meeting my classmates, since it is difficult to enjoy and navigate a city (especially at night) without friends. Plus it's just a bit lonely. At the same time, I am extremely nervous, which is bizarre, if you think about it, since most are Americans, all are Northwestern students, and many are Poli Sci majors, like me...
I put a lot of weight on first impressions, and I know that forming these friendships will be important, for the rest of my stay in Paris, for the next 2 years at Northwestern, and beyond. I will be spending the next 3.5 months with these people, and it kind of freaks me out that I've never met any of them before.
But if all else fails, and I'm just too socially inept to get along with people who are exactly like me, I have Justine, my French friend, who will hopefully introduce me to her school friends and give me the inside scoop on the city.
Either way, I'm sure I have plenty of long-lasting friendships on the horizon.