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  • Writer's pictureDanielle G.

Episode 12 │ Text Your Mom (PARIS)

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

photo courtesy of Courtney Williams

"I knew I always wanted to get out of the U.S. and experience a different culture, and going to college really opened those horizons for something like that to happen." (Courtney, Episode 12)

Courtney Williams and I went to school together from elementary school through high school, and coincidentally she had her first significant international travel experience at the same time that I did. During the summer of 2013, Courtney spent a month in Paris, France. While studying entrepreneurship and apparel merchandising at Central Michigan University, she signed up for an apparel merchandising and design program at the Paris American Academy.

Her cohort was comprised of five students, supervised by their a professor from CMU and taught by instructors at the Academy. Courtney and her fellow students learned techniques and worked on projects that were relevant to their interests within the fashion industry, and they also had ample time to explore the city. The cohort also took a short trip to Belgium to sit front row at a fashion show (a senior showcase for fashion school students there). Other than this excursion she didn't venture outside of Paris, but even now she wants to go back because she didn't have enough time to seek out all that the city has to offer.

And of course, going out and about in a city that's foreign to you can come with challenges, but sometimes those incidences leave you with anecdotes that you can laugh about later. Such was the case for Courtney. When she and her cohort were walking in a train station, she trailed behind and briefly got separated from them when she was suddenly approached by customs officers. She was more confused than alarmed (she hadn't realied that they were customs officers), and now she can chuckle about the fact that she initially tried to bypass them like you would a troop of girl scouts or any other random person trying to get your attention in public. On another day she stopped by a bar and accidentally left her phone there, and in the time that it took for her to realize it and go back to retrieve it (30 minutes), the bartender had texted Courtney's mom, and mama was almost ready to hop on a plane to Paris to find her missing daughter. Thankfully, a crisis was averted and both Courtney and her mom can laugh about it now.

Never put a cap on your dreams. The law of attraction is real, and anything you want you can get.

It took a little hustle and community cooperation to get Courtney to Paris, but in the end she was able to afford the program and insists that money should not be a deterrent because the experiences gained and memories made are the most important. She also puts much stock in the law of attraction. In her words, "Never put a cap on your dreams. The law of attraction is real, and anything you want you can get." Courtney now works in retail as well as DJ-ing in the Metro Detroit area and other cities. She can be found on Instagram (@courttdenise).

Be sure to listen to this episode, "Text Your Mom (PARIS)" for more! And don't forget to check out the resource list below!


Danielle G. is the creator, host, and producer of Young, Gifted and Abroad. You can find her other writings at The music in this episode is by ProleteR.



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