I have certainly spent a moment or two this semester reflecting on the dream of a postgrad life in Europe. Many of my peers in France have expressed that they could not live here in the future, but I still observe Paris through a romanticized lens. I watch the parents marching their kids through bustling streets or running through parks, the laid-back social scene, the convivial dining ambiance. Still, I remember that much of my family is back in Philadelphia, and recall my desire to one day have my own family and career close to them.
It’s a tricky tug-of-war, and certainly my goal of becoming a doctor does not lend itself to easy immigration. Even the American Hospital of Paris must only ever employ less than eight foreign doctors: they are required to show a mastery of French language and go back through residency here to be licensed in France. However, I am conflicted knowing that I also prefer the European healthcare system and mentality surrounding treatment compared to that of the States. When I tell my French friends this, they laugh in my face that I would ever consider giving up the notorious American physician’s salary in place of working in France, though they don’t quite understand the scope of years of training and accumulated student debt.
If I had to realistically envision a future living in France, it would likely be long after I’ve established my career, maybe moving for a job shift. I love being a teaching assistant and tutor at Pitt, I would love to teach within the health sciences after practicing for many years, or to engage in research abroad to further my knowledge of my specialty (currently, my interests lie in obstetrics and gynecology). I would still love to live in Paris, somewhere lively, although both Lyon and Nice (see title image!) have captured my heart this semester. I already plan on raising my hypothetical future children as bilingual, and hope they would also be excited to engage with the cuisine and culture. There is still much of the French countryside, castles, and history I have not experienced, and many countries on my list in Europe that remain unvisited. At the very least, you can count on me continuing to travel abroad and improve my fluency throughout the rest of my life.