13 August 2013

You never forget your first sight of a new city

After more than 30 hours on the road, I’d been rather disappointed by the fact that my first impressions of Paris would be clouded by an intense desire to be unconscious. We’d arrived at this city on a grey morning, with the dawn that had chased us across the northern continents just skirting the horizon. The orange sky had made the glowing web of city below us so much more poignant to behold.

This first impression has been carried with me through my five weeks here, and whenever I close my eyes and think of Paris, that is still the first image that comes to mind.

On this trip, each of us had been assigned to different internship positions, and mine was at the OECD within the Public Affairs and Communications Division. I was given my own project of analysing the readership of the OECD Observer magazine, comparing it to online subscriptions and other OECD publications. In between this, I got to attend international forums, and stare out of my office to into the Seine.

When I was first told that I would be interning at the OECD, I’d felt an equal mixture of excitement and fear. It was very daunting, so be within such a huge, influential organisation! After 5 weeks here though, I could almost say that I’m entirely comfortable. Perhaps the most enlightening realisation I’ve gained here isn’t the skills I’ve learnt, but realising that each corporation is made up of people all of whom are willing to have fun and lend a helping hand. We even have our own interdivision football championships!

After the first week, we moved into accommodations at Cite Universitaire, a collection of college houses reputed to be more beautiful than the University of Sydney. There are three wings to each floor, accessed by two spiral staircases, all very movie-esque. The common kitchens are a perfect hub for conversation, and meeting new people from all over the world, speaking all their different languages. My neighbour on the right is German, and the other is Italian!

Paris is an endlessly fascinating city. It is a maze of winding alleys and small streets that feed into wide open boulevards. Around each corner is another architectural gem, statutes of sombre marble, gleaming gold domes or piercing copper spires. To find anything, first, you have to get lost.

To be honest, this is my first trip to Europe, and first time away from home. As I lie on an endless stretch of lawn infront of the International House writing this blog, with a church spire red in the 10pm sunset piercing the blue sky, I realise that this is the beginning of a lifelong romance. What better city to fall in love with than the city of love?

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