Spring break is an undeniably integral part of American culture. Everyone in the United States desires to finish their college experience, knowing they have collected memories of drinking on beaches in Mexico, so that they can one day reminisce in the midst of their boring and stable adult lives.
Of course, this time-honored tradition has not escaped Penn, and it would not have been exactly unnatural to run into one of the sophomores or seniors on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta during this year’s spring break. However, in the spirit of the adventurous nature of most Penn students, many people took unconventional spring break trips (i.e. not Mexico) as well, all around the world.
I interviewed five different girls from the class of 2021 about their spring break experience, wondering what their favorite part about their trips was, how the nightlife was, and what their level of interaction was with other Penn students. Each answered me extremely positively, strongly recommending a similar adventure for future spring breakers, and all having vastly different experiences in different corners of the world.
Alex Poscente and Isabella Yu went to Paris with a group of four friends. They stayed in a small Airbnb in the Latin Quarter, which is a known hub for young students as a result of its many neighboring universities. They enthusiastically discussed how much they enjoyed it, describing how they loved “the fashion, the culture, the food, and the folks.” Their trip seemed to have been quite eventful as well. They “broke into the Tuileries Garden”, which was, at that hour, closed and protected by “30 French soldiers lining the perimeter” without even realizing it was an important and protected place. They “air-twerked in front of Versailles” and “broke into a random Parisian apartment building” to watch the sunset from the roof. Their favorite nightlife spot was a club on the Seine called Le Concrète, but they found that Parisians only really go out on Friday and Saturday nights. Alex continued by jokingly describing the nightlife scene as people “noodling around” and basically “moving their bodies in nondescript ways” to thumping house music. They only ran into one person from Penn during their entire trip, which can be taken as positive or negative, depending on what future travelers are looking for, and, when asked if they would recommend Paris for spring break, they immediately replied “totally” and “for sure”. The only thing they would have done differently is brought better walking shoes.
Julia Gros went with a group of 9 friends to the historic city of Cartagena in Colombia. Her favorite part of the trip was walking around the old city with her friends and “just finding cute little cafes and watching locals.” The nightlife, she explained, was “not as intense as in other places,” and her group mostly just went to “rooftop bars and a few night clubs that had more chill and beachy vibes.” Her favorite nightlife spot was a club called Babar because there were separate rooms for Latin music and deep house. She admits she saw many other Penn students, since groups of all ages had come from Penn. However, she said most of the days were spent with just the girls from her house, and they would meet up with other Penn people at night. When asked what she would have done differently she decided she would have “investigated the Airbnb she stayed in a little better before choosing it” to avoid having been robbed by the staff.
Catherine Liu and Beryl Chen, on the other hand, went with their group of friends to South Beach in Miami, Florida. Beryl’s favorite part was “getting tan and just relaxing without worrying about school,” while Catherine’s was the location of her stay in “South Beach and not in the heart of Miami” where it is overcrowded. To my question about nightlife they both hesitated, explaining that it was difficult to go out, seeing as many nightlife venues had strictly enforced 21+ rules. When I asked what their favorite nightlife spot was, they just laughed, saying, “yeah…no.” They did see a lot of other Penn students in Miami, saying that they spent one day with another group who had also come and had dinner on another day with yet another group. They do recommend the experience, saying that the only thing they would have done differently is having gone for a weekend rather than earlier in the week.