Why am I studying abroad?
Studying abroad is something I have dreamed of doing for as long as I can remember. The idea of millions of people living lives drastically different than my own and speaking different languages has always fascinated me. I knew experiencing as many of those different lifestyles as possible in my lifetime was something I needed to do. While choosing a location for study abroad can feel overwhelming for many reasons, if you take the time to make a list of specific things you are looking to get out of your trip abroad, it can make the process less stressful. There are a couple of reasons that I picked Paris for my semester abroad. I knew from the beginning that I didn't want to go to an English-speaking country and being a French major it was easy for me to narrow down my options to France, but choosing a city was difficult for me. France has so many different beautiful regions, but I decided I needed to go to one that I have never been to before. I ended up choosing Paris because I have never lived in a city like it before and I knew that it would push me out of my comfort zone and help me to grow as a person and in my language skills. When choosing where you want to study abroad and for how long you want to, it's important to thoroughly consider what exactly it is that you are looking to get out of your experience, so you make the right decision for yourself.
How did I prepare to go abroad?
When I was preparing to go abroad there were a couple of different things I did to help ensure that my transition would go smoothly. I researched international phone plans and prices and how to set up my phone abroad before leaving so that way I wouldn't be stressed about trying to get it set up when I arrived. I also packed a couple days' worth of outfits in my carryon just in case my checked bag got lost. Researching fun things to do in the city and planning a couple of things I wanted to do in Paris before I left made me feel excited about exploring and less stressed about not being familiar with my surroundings or knowing many people. Lastly, it's important to remember to pack lightly because you will most likely buy clothes and other things once you arrive that you feel fit the climate better or that you like better than what you initially packed.
How did I feel when I first arrived?
Coming abroad for an extended period can be a little overwhelming for everyone in the beginning. I love travelling and I don't usually feel homesick, but the first few days with my host family were challenging for me just because I was adjusting to a completely different routine than I am used to at home with a family I have never met before. It is important to allow yourself time to adjust and get used to your new routine abroad. I highly recommend doing a homestay if it is an option because even though it is an adjustment, living with a family is so important when it comes to learning more about the culture and practicing your language skills if that applies to where you are.
What do I want to gain from this experience?
While I am abroad, I am hoping to improve my French level and become better acquainted with French culture. I am looking forward to making friends from different parts of the world and seeing in which ways we are similar and which ways we are different. I hope to travel to other nearby towns and experience French culture and learn as much as I can while I am here in this beautiful country.