There’s something about traveling and feeling alienated from one’s usual environment that makes us contemplate the concept of home. The word “home” evokes different images for different people, but when placed in a culture distinctly different from our own, we cannot help but compare it to our new surroundings.

I recently had an experience while traveling away from Paris, where I am currently studying, which made me think about home. As I sat on a bus, I found myself swiming in an ocean of thought that connected the

cultures of many nations. A Maroon 5 song that came on the radio and listened to a French mother read her son a story initially provoked this contemplation.

Surprisingly, I felt more connected to the French mother than to the American song or to the city of London itself.

When I first arrived in London I was excited to finally be in a city where everyone spoke my language. I was excited to see more stores and products that I recognized and of course, to see my American friends.

While I was comforted by the Starbucks that rests on every corner like in New York City and enjoyed conversing more freely with strangers, London did not feel like home.

My original home is New York. When I first arrived in Paris to begin my study abroad experience, I compared every cultural difference to what I was used to in New York. After being here for a month, I find myself more intrigued by these differences and less interested in the fact that they simply exist. As I sat on that bus, I felt myself longing not for New York, but for Paris. I longed to return to the city where most things were different from what I had originally perceived as perfection.

I wanted to walk down my block with a baguette from my neighborhood boulangerie, pass by families who were purchasing their groceries for that evening’s dinner and listen to the previously foreign chatter exchanged between friends and families.

While I am not fluent in French, the language is no longer strange, but is instead comforting.

As I traveled around Barcelona and London, I found myself comparing the cities to Paris rather than to New York. While I still view New York as my home, I have acquired a new definition of what home is. I feel as though I have gained an additional culture.

Katz can be reached at

jkatz@campustimes.org.



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