At this point in the trip, I’ve spent a week in Paris, followed by three weeks of studying at the Institut de Touraine. I only have one week left here in Tours before I am off to the United States.

All of the students from Alabama got split into different host families, with a few exceptions. My living situation is with a kind French woman named Elodie, who has lived in Tours all her life, along with the past twelve generations of her family. She has hosted students for more than fifteen years, and she’s essentially gotten it down to a science.

After coming from Paris, it seemed like Tours was a much slower (and in my opinion, nicer) pace of life. Our apartment with Elodie is roughly a ten minute walk from the Institute, which has been very nice. There are still many stores, restaurants, and places for entertainment in Tours, and I think it was the perfect city to study abroad in.

My classes abroad were not taught by a University of Alabama professor like I was told they would be when I signed up for this trip, but I have thoroughly enjoyed taking my class with a professor who lives in France. I also have the unique experience of studying here with students from around the world. I either live with or go to class with students from Russia, Qatar, Kuwait, China, Korea, Japan, the UK, and many states. It has given me a rich perspective on other areas of the world, and has also been a challenge to speak with some of the students since a number of them from other countries do not speak English; therefore, we must communicate in the only common language we share—French. This class has also undoubtedly been the most difficult class I’ve ever taken. We did the intensive course load, which means we did 21 hours of class every week. While that may not seem too bad if class is our only focus, 21+ hours of intense focus in each minute of class to understand what’s going on…that is mentally exhausting.

There have also been a number of excursions in both Paris and the rest of France, and I have made many friends from across the world. While this program is coming to an end, I feel satisfied with what I’ve been able to see here, and I miss the United States. It’s been quite the adjustment to have no AC anywhere, to always eat outside, to smell cigarette smoke everywhere, etc.

Now, I’ll be finishing my last five days of class before receiving my certificate of completion for the class, and I’ll be back in the US in seven days.