Study Abroad
Western Michigan

1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, Michigan
49008-5245 USA
Phone (269) 387-5890
Fax (269) 387-0630


2425 Ellsworth Hall
WMU Mail Stop 5245

Leighann Wood--France
Leighann Wood pic1
Leighann Wood
Paris, France

When I first heard about the three-week art history trip to Paris I was intrigued, but not convinced.  When I heard that it was led by Dr. Jeff Thompson, I signed up immediately.  I couldn’t pass up an onsite learning experience in the city where modern art was born with one of the most educated art modernists at WMU. My time abroad has given me knowledge and amazing memories that I will carry with me forever.

Even though Paris is a big city, it has much to offer outside of the main attractions. The city-life is much more laid back than typical metropolitan cities in the United States. I was able to grab a freshly baked tarte to start my day, take long breaks for lunch and a late dinner with a glass of wine followed by a cup of coffee and a moonlit stroll along the Seine.  It’s no wonder Paris is the city of love.  Who wouldn’t fall in love with a laid back, beautiful city? Such a concept would greatly benefit the hustle and bustle of the usual American routine.


Leighann Wood pic2


This trip has made me realize that it is important for me to have an open mind. I don’t always need to have expectations for everything I do. I learned that every opportunity that comes my way has something to learn from.  I went to Paris having different expectations than that of Florence, where I studied previously. Unlike the slow-paced Italians, the French live by a ‘here and now’ theme. Everything is in the moment.  There is no then or later, it is about living in the present moment, for all it’s worth.

I’ve learned to take this motto and apply it to my everyday routine. Learning from the French really changed the way I live in the U.S.  The previous stresses that would come along with homework, school, my job, etc. have all become less important in the grand scheme of things. I am so lucky to have been a part in this experience. Traveling is such a great learning tool and I hope one day I will have a career that will allow me to travel.