Valley Overseas: Paris Through the Eyes of a Penn Stater

Photo by Kacie Iwasyk

Halfway across the world, and still, “Penn State lives here” is relevant. While the cuisine, language and overall culture are ridiculously opposites, there are surprising similarities.

Through the eyes of a Penn Stater, Paris is not so far from the home of Happy Valley.

When the degrees hits 45 or above, Penn State is crawling with students dying to soak up any ounce of sunlight they can. Similarly, in Paris, once that sun is out, the people come out to play — always bundled in winter coats and scarves, unlike Penn Staters in tanks and cropped leggings, but at least they are out and about.

The obsession with football in Paris is equivalent to our own Nittany Lions. Although, it’s not quite the same. Both are proud of their “football” teams, even though they may mean different things. Paris Saint-Germain soccer or Penn State football — either way, you can strike up a conversation with anyone about it and sense the pride of the native.

Sure, the Willard Preacher is beloved (kinda) by Penn State, but he may be a better fit in Paris. Here, he can find a friend on every other street with preachers galore. In a way, getting preached at on a daily walk in Paris is a reminder of walking passed Willard. The Willard Preacher would definitely be welcomed with open arms in Paris.

At Penn State, our claim to fame is not only through the Nittany Lion, but also through our land of squirrels. We relish in their friendliness and abundance. Well, in Paris, pigeons are the new squirrels. These creatures are annoying and blatantly less friendly than our own squirrels, but you really can’t avoid them. Penn State for the win in this category. Maybe Paris needs to find a pigeon lover to clothe them and follow in the footsteps of Squirrel Girl.

Paris, London, Barcelona — it will be the same. No matter where we are in life, Penn State always has a way of reaching out hearts and minds.