I miss French being spoken around me all the time. This is one of the first things which strikes me as I wait for my connection in the Atlanta airport, back on American soil. I am tired from my travels, yet the 9 hour plane ride to Atlanta went much smoother than my ride to France, because I knew what to expect and was actually able to sleep on the plane. One of the first things I did after arriving in Atlanta and going through customs was call my mom. With the high expense of international phone calls, we’d been Skyping while I was abroad, but the ease of simply calling her on the phone is a welcome change. However, the constant English around me makes me a bit sad despite my excitement to be (almost) home. The airport announcements come over the loudspeaker twice, first in English and then in Spanish. I wish they were in French. At the airport, I see a crêpe shop. Yes! I’m so excited! I have to order one. However, what I receive is a poor imitation of the real thing. I eat it all, and it tastes okay, but I again miss France.

I have two pieces of advice for anyone about to study abroad. The first is to take every opportunity offered to you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Do (safe) things you might not normally do. Meet new people. See as many castles, gardens, monuments, whatever as you can. Because your time abroad will fly by and be gone before you know it. Which brings me to my second piece of advice, which pertains especially to those studying languages abroad. Learning a language in an immersion experience allows students to advance much quicker than a traditional classroom. However, I have learned that if you want the most out of your experience, it is not simply enough to be immersed, you must truly put in effort and work as well. You’ll only get as much out of your experience as you put in. So talk in English as little as possible! Seriously, it makes a huge difference!

France, je t’aime et tu me manques. À bientôt !

Mont St. Michel; an abbey and island in Normandy, France
Château de Chenonceau; a castle which is also a bridge, found in Chenonceaux, France
View from the Arc de Triomphe; Paris, France
Château de Chinon; view from a medieval castle in Chinon, France
One of my last photos taken in France, depicting the flowers I bought my host mom as a parting and thank you gift, taken in my host home