I am writing this update from the airport, where I am currently sitting as I wait to board a plane that will take me to Paris, France. From there I will travel via bullet train (the TGV) to the town of Tours, where I will spend the next four weeks living with a host family and studying at the Institut de Touraine. I’ve been waiting so long for this trip, and suddenly I am at the cusp. I can’t believe the moment has finally arrived. Waiting in May and June, it seemed I had nothing to do. Then suddenly, during the past week, it’s seemed I haven’t had enough time to do everything. The week has flown by and, quickly, I am here at this moment. A couple practical tips I wish I’d considered: bring an empty water bottle in your carry on bag (I have a small backpack); there are filling stations in the airport – past security – for this. (It must be empty when you go through security.) I also suggest bringing some snacks in your bag, so as to avoid expensive airport food and keep you satisfied (instead of hungry) before your long flight and long first day after landing! Also, make sure to leave some room in your suitcase for all the souvenirs you’ll buy! I hope these few simple tips help those who may not have lots of experience flying. I have flown domestically numerous times, but this is my first international trip, and my first time flying alone. For these reasons I have included these very practical tips for any future traveler who may be as freaked out or under-prepared as I currently feel. But, despite the nerves, I am beyond excited to finally visit the country I have learned so much about and speak their beautiful language in both an academic and casual manner with native speakers (and my fellow students).

Update from after the flight: I found plane food to not be too bad! For all curious, I was given a muffin, yogurt, cheese, and orange juice for my breakfast shortly before landing (see picture below). Overall, I found the food throughout the flight (which also included a dinner and a few snacks), to be fairly enjoyable. Not amazing, obviously, but good. If the idea of airplane food is stressing anyone out, don’t worry! It’s really pretty good (at least in my experience on my Delta flight).

Breakfast on the plane before landing in Paris
P.S. I had no idea what to expect clothes wise and what types of clothes I should bring, so I brought a lot of different options. Rolling my shirts, as seen in this picture, helped me save space. I also brought a small backpack, pictured right, to bring on the planned group excursions we will be doing throughout my study abroad. This bag will easily hold sunscreen, water, a hat, a change of clothes, a notebook, and really anything I may want to bring on said excursions. Hope this helps with packing questions!