…I’m just sayin’. -Kanye West.
Let me tell you about my experience of studying abroad in Paris, France. It goes a little something like this…
My sophomore year of college, the year was 2008, I packed my bags kissed my family farewell as I left for 6 months in Paris.
I would go to the same coffee spot, right below my 5th floor walk up, every morning. I remember trying to make the waiter laugh every time I was in there, trying to crack a joke, and failing every time. He never laughed. Ultimately, this routine left me feeling like I didn’t get to really connect to the culture in Paris, I didn’t step too far out of my comfort zone.
While the Parisian people were not particularly welcoming an American college student with open arms, I found myself making tons of friends from other parts of the world. Students from places like Spain, Italy, and Germany, were also there to study abroad.
There were two things that I took home with me after my stay in Paris: a growth in my French speaking abilities and a whopping thirty pounds.
In high school, I struggled in my French class. I was always just barely passing the class and I was never entirely comfortable speaking French. After studying abroad, I had learned way more of the language and was feeling so confident speaking to others. This was one of the most amazing things that could have happened to me. Even now, I practice speaking whenever I can. If you don’t use it, you lose it, right?
The thirty extra pounds didn’t travel back in a luggage, I did not do any major shopping, and I did not bring my family souvenirs. I, instead, had indulged in crepes and butter covered dishes while in Paris; I gained so much weight. I remember showing up at home and my dad looking at me like he didn’t know who I was. Both of my parents clearly saw how I enjoyed the food in Paris.
Ultimately, it was a life changing experience and I was so grateful to have gotten it.