Arianna Pineiro ’20 got to follow her dreams of traveling to Paris with a little help from Lehigh’s travel grant fund.

Growing up, Pineiro always enjoyed the Madeline books and developed a true obsession with the Eiffel Tower. As she grew older, she embraced her Latina culture while also keeping a consistent interest in French influences.

Pineiro has always felt passionate about French food and languages, and knew that someday she wanted to travel there, specifically Paris since it is the epicenter of these things.

When the opportunity for Pineiro to travel abroad came into the picture, she immediately knew that Paris was the place for her. She applied for the Lehigh in Paris study abroad program, and filed for a College of Arts and Sciences travel grant. This process included her filling out a section of the application including her goals, background and why she wanted to study abroad.

Once Pineiro received the grant, she was extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity. She spent July 1 to 31 in Paris, enjoying her first time overseas. With the grant, certain meals and experiences were covered.

Being a biochemistry major, Pineiro wanted to combine her academic interests with her obsession for fashion, and knew that Paris was just the place to do so.

“It was a great opportunity to study abroad, not focusing on my major, but getting to have the experience I have always wanted,” she says.

Pineiro explained that her time in Paris helped her hone in on some of the things that she wants to do with her future. She had the pleasure of attending a textile convention for fashion designers who create textiles, fixtures and accessories. From this, she learned about sustainable fabrics, which is something she has always been personally interested in.

“I am studying biochemistry and I think it is really important that we use combinations of synthetic and natural fibers because the resources on our planet are getting limited and we need to be mindful. Seeing companies that are sustainable and recycle their cotton is really cool and interesting,” she said.

Pineiro’s favorite parts of her Paris experience were shopping and getting the chance to attend Lollapalooza, a popular music festival held annually in the summer in Paris.

Overall, Pineiro’s time studying abroad in Paris added to her understanding of different cultures. This contrast of energy broadened her perspective and she is excited to be able to share with people at home. She wants to encourage students to take the leap to study abroad, and not be afraid to apply for a travel grant.

“There’s a life out there that’s a lot bigger than Lehigh” she said.