Reed recaps study in France

June 15, 2017

Christa Reed enjoyed a remarkable May, studying the French medical history and current practices at various locations in the European country. Christa's first blog focused on her travels and curriculum in coastal cities along the Mediterranean Sea. Now back in Nashville, her second blog includes activities in Paris.

Hey everybody! Though I'm back in America, I must say the Parisian life treated me well.

After spending two weeks of fun in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, we traveled to Paris for more than a week. Paris is everything that you see on TV and more.

The Eiffel Tower is huge and glows beautifully when the sun is setting, and the Louvre is a must-see tourism spot. As a class, we did some pretty cool things. The first day, we went on a Segway tour of the city. Paris is so much smaller than I envisioned, but it is still so beautiful. Even the "old" architecture is amazing. Not only did we get to see the city while riding a Segway, but we also got to go on a dinner cruise that night.

Our goodbye trip was an adventure to Versailles, where the gardens are full of French patterns and greenery. Apparently, the surroundings are so peaceful that the President of France and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a stroll in the gardens after a heated debate, and it seems to have worked!

I got to see a lot of different places and things in Paris, but we also delved into the more academic side of our experience. We visited some historical sites to learn more about the history and development of medicine in France. Did you know that Paris has multiple historical hospitals with museums of wax molds? These wax molds were examples of different diseases and things that could happen to the body during war. It was so fascinating because I got to see what acne looked like back in the day, and I must say it is a lot more disgusting than it is now. In addition, I saw wax molds of different dermatological diseases (STD's, TB, cankers) and a cyclops baby. I mean, these museums were full of things that I had never even imagined. Before modern technology, these molds used to teach students how to diagnose diseases. Now they are used to show how far medicine has advanced today.

Wax molds weren't the only thing that showed us how far medicine has developed. We also got to visit the Marie Curie Museum. Marie Curie was a famous French scientist that discovered and isolated radium with the belief the element could cure cancer. This was obviously not the case, because radium is highly radioactive and dangerous, but through her discovery, others scientists began using radium in many things, including water, makeup and soap.

Sadly, Marie Curie died from aplastic anemia caused by her high exposure to radium. Her remains, buried down the street from the museum, are surrounded by thick blocks of lead because her body is still poisonous and radioactive -- and will be for thousands of years to follow.

The academics involved in this trip was extremely interesting. France is amazing, and I hope to return one day because there are so many more things that I would love to do. The adjustment to American life has been hard because I find myself wanting to keep speaking French and I'm still a little scared to cross streets without looking.

Overall, I had a great time, but I'm happy to be back home at Vanderbilt.



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