In early June, six USC Union students and one professor spent five, amazing days in Paris, France. Dr. Helene Maire-Afeli, USC Union Assistant Professor of Chemistry, was accompanied by her students, Jennifer Dove, Todd Cudd, Mary Scarborough, Caroline England, Estelle Means, and Fernanda Martinez. The students received credit hours in Chemistry, which went toward their degree.
Day 1 –The group toured around Paris in a van where they stopped at several famous locations. They visited Notre Dame and toured on foot the Quartier Latin.
Day 2 – The students had a busy day loaded with sight-seeing. They visited the Trocadero, Champs de Mars, Panthéon, L’Opera, la Madeleine, l Arc de Triomphe. And of course, they stopped by to see France’s most popular site, the Eiffel Tower.
Day 3 – The students worked up an appetite while taking a French cooking course. They prepared a three course menu consisting of three cheese croissants amuse bouche for an appetizer, a tarte tatin caramélisée au confit de canard accompanied by mesclun salade for a main dish and dessert was a coulant au chocolate with its salted butter caramel. Bon appetit!
After the cooking class, the students took a boat ride on the Seine river that afternoon to see Paris from a different perspective.
Day 4 – The students had a private tour of the Fragonard Perfume Museum where they learned about the techniques of making perfumes and the history of perfumes from ancient Egypt. They finished with a “nose” lab where students had to identify the various components in different perfumes by using their sense of smell. This experience was also held in an exquisite historical building.
They visited the Jardin des Plantes that houses trees that are older than the United States of America! The students went to the Grande Mosquée de Paris, a beautiful mosque with original architecture. They tried tajines, couscous, and traditional mint tea.
Day 5 – On the fifth day, the students toured the Quartier of Montmartre, Moulin a Rouge, and special landmarks such as where Van Gogh lived, Toulouse Lautrec, Picasso, and other studios of famous artists. That evening, the group had dinner at the famous Place des Tertres, where local artists paint, draw, and display their work.
“Before this Paris trip, I had never left the state of South Carolina,” says USC Union student, Jennifer Dove, “Paris was overwhelming, but definitely a trip I’ll remember for a long time.”
The students received four credit hours with the lab requirements consisting of food chemistry during the cooking class, chemistry in the arts at the Le Louvre, and chemistry during the fragrance class at Fragonard. The Paris trip was much more than academic credit for USC Union, though. The trip allowed students to explore a different culture beyond their own in Union County. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students, and they will always treasure the memories they made.
“For many of the students here at USC Union, they have not had the opportunity to experience the world beyond South Carolina, or in some cases beyond Union County,” says Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Randy Lowell, “This Paris trip allowed them to see first-hand how people in a different culture go about their daily lives and identify all of the aspects of that culture that are different than here, but also the aspects that they share in common.”
USC Union hopes the Paris trip will inspire students to continue to travel and learn more about different cultures.
“The more we understand about each other, the easier it can be to work together,” says Lowell.