A Trip to Paris

Karsten and friends made the trip to Paris last weekend to celebrate the first weekend of the semester, and even scored some amazing seats to a PSG game! Check out his blog.

Monday, August 26, 2019 | Written by Karsten Messer

Though this was the first weekend abroad and I hadn’t really explored downtown Metz much, I wanted to go elsewhere. I flew into Paris, as did most people on this study abroad, but I had never been there before. I didn’t think many people would be interested in going out of town in the first weekend, so I expected to go by myself or with one of the only guys I knew coming into Georgia Tech Lorraine, Jake Tjards (a fellow member of Cru). However, when I mentioned in passing that I wanted to go to Paris this weekend, others also seemed interested, so we began planning. Everyone that went had a couple of things that they especially wanted to do, and because there were eight of us, we had a pretty good list of things to do. My two bucket list events were seeing the Eiffel Tower and going to my first European football match. On Thursday night, we bought our tickets for the train and the game, and we booked our Airbnb. 

Day One

Once we got to the train station and got all of our Eurail passes activated, we waited for the track to be listed, which doesn’t happen until twenty minutes before the train arrives. Once it was listed, we went to the tracks and it seemed like it wasn’t there. However, about one minute before it left, we realized that it wasn’t pulled all the way into the station, but it was there, so we bolted to the doors and somehow all made it. We arrived in Paris and began getting to our itinerary – with the first stop being a bakery.

After we had some of the best pastries of our lives, we walked to the Louvre (more on that later) and then into the Sainte-Chapelle—and immediately back out because we’re all on a budget. Next, we walked by the sad sight that is the Cathedral Notre Dame, as we were able to see the severe damage caused by the fire earlier this year. The last thing that we had scheduled was the Pantheon. We made a spur-of-the-moment decision (heavily influenced by me for photography purposes) to go to the Montparnasse Tower to watch the sun set over the cityscape. It was an absolutely incredible sight. Once the sun had gone down, we made the three-mile walk back to our Airbnb, which put us at fifteen miles for the day.

Day Two

On day two, we woke up, went and got more pastries, and went back to the Louvre. Honestly, I was not very excited to go as I am not a museum person at all. However, this was one of the best museums I had been in (at least recently), and I definitely enjoyed it. My favorite part, though cliché, was seeing the Mona Lisa. After, we went and got crepes for lunch and then went to see the Arc de Triomphe. I very much enjoyed walking through the insanely wealthy Champs-Élysées on the way, which was filled with stores I’ll never buy from and half a million-dollar cars. From there, we headed to see the Eiffel Tower up close and then on to the Parc des Princes for the PSG vs Toulouse game. We managed to get tickets in the third row of a first level section for less than fifty euros. After getting my biggest lens confiscated (taken to the bag check), it was a very fun and unforgettable experience. I thought Atlanta United games were loud and hype, but honestly, I’ve never been to a game that compares to the Parisian Ultras at this game. To top off the experience, PSG beat Toulouse 4-0, with all four goals being scored in the side we were sitting on.


Overall, I’m very glad to have gotten to go to one of the biggest cities with a rich history in the world as a way to ease in to travelling around Europe via the train system. It was extremely cool, and I hope to go back and see what I missed before I leave (though we walked thirty miles in two days, we couldn’t have missed too much).

Arrival, Orientation, and Excitement!

Check out the first blog from Karsten – the new Georgia Tech-Lorraine student blogger for the fall – on his thoughts and emotions as he traveled across the Atlantic for the first time!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | Written by Karsten


Forty-eight hours have passed since I arrived in France, which means that seventy-two hours ago, I was asleep in my bed at home. Since Sunday morning, I have packed, flown solo for the first time, forgotten every bit of French I thought I knew, eaten six croissants and five pain au chocolat in a very short time frame, slept for a total of fifteen hours, and have frequented the Cora hypermarket more times than I care to admit.


Travelling without family or friends for the first time is definitely stressful, especially when going overseas. Even though I have traveled several times in my life, I second guessed myself and my flying experience. Thankfully, I flew out of Augusta Regional Airport, which only has six gates, and is therefore never crowded and would take a talented individual to get lost in. Once I connected in Charlotte, however, it was a different story. I needed to go from Terminal E to Terminal B, so I traveled all the way across the Charlotte Douglas International Airport only to find that the flight had been delayed and moved minutes before boarding should have started. Terminal D, all the way back by E, was my new destination. Once we boarded, the flight was uneventful and we landed on schedule. This was where I met up with other students going to Georgia Tech-Lorraine for the first time. There were ten people from GTL on my flight, so we went through customs and found our bags as a group. We somehow managed to find our meeting location for the shuttle without anyone speaking a word of French.

Arrival at Lafayette

The shuttle to Lafayette, where we are housed, took roughly three hours. When I stepped off of the shuttle, I was met with gorgeous weather. A dramatic drop in humidity and the shift from Atlanta’s ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit to Metz’s seventy-five was a welcome surprise. Long sleeves and hoodies are quite comfortable to wear outside. That night (Monday August 19, 2019), there was a pizza party encouraging us to meet new people. Everyone I talked to seemed excited to be here, despite the exhaustion from jet lag and general travel fatigue.


Tuesday morning, everyone went to the building neighboring Georgia Tech-Lorraine campus and had coffee, juice, croissants, and pain au chocolat, which I had more than my fair share of. We then went into the auditorium and heard multiple presentations, covering the topics of safety, school, research projects, and more. It was a miracle that no one fell asleep. After, some faculty took us on tours, though it seemed unnecessary, besides which class rooms were where. After all of the introductions and orientation, we had one minute to collect what we wanted from a donation pile that previous students had left. This was the most nerve-racking thing that has happened so far, as we were supposed to grab stuff that we didn’t have but that we needed. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize what exactly I needed until after this event took place.


I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to study abroad and to get to see so many of the places and events that I could have only dreamed of seeing before, but I’m also sad that I won’t see my family and friends from Georgia Tech and from home for so long. However, thanks to modern conveniences such as FaceTime, calls, and texts, I’m only really a call (and spotty service) away. I’m looking forward to being immersed in French culture and being able to call France home for a semester, as well as making friends with people whom I probably would not have otherwise met.