Sunday, December 23, 2018

My Study Abroad Experience


34 cities, 9 countries in 4 months.

I just barely returned home from studying abroad! I lived in Dijon, France for the semester, but hardly.

I saw 25 cities in France and I traveled to 9 different countries.

It was the best four months of my life. An experience of a lifetime that I am going to try to summarize for you!

VISIT FRANCE

As you know, I studied abroad with the Wake Forest Dijon program. It was the absolute BEST study abroad program!
Like I said, we saw 25 cities just in France! It was AMAZING! I wouldn’t have seen the country otherwise. I got to visit Provence, Burgundy, Normandie, Val de Loire, Paris and Alsace all with my Wake Forest group.
All the trips were just about completely paid for; hotels, group meals, guided tours, and museums.

STUDYING

Sorry mom and dad, but we definitely traveled more than we studied! We took two classes from August 17-October 1 while we traveled around to the different regions of France and became fully immersed in the French language and culture.

University started in October at the University of Burgundy at the language institute. You can read all about my feelings on the classes at a French university HERE.
Long story short, university was so easy compared to Wake. I had little homework and I really just got to enjoy my time in France and in other countries because I didn’t have class on Fridays!

PEOPLE

I got to live with the sweetest host parents and the cutest kitty! You can read more about them HERE! I had a wonderful experience living with my host parents. They were so kind. The people all over France and all over Europe were generally very lovely.

$$$

Also, did I mention that with the Wake Forest Dijon program I got an allowance each week of €150?! Oh yea, there was that! Another amazing reason to go on this program!

Traveling and life abroad was expensive but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. But, save your money!

FRENCH LANGUAGE

I cannot speak (get it) more highly of the Wake Forest Dijon program.
The best part for me, and one of the main reasons that I studied abroad in France, was to improve my French: reading, writing and the most difficult, speaking.

I am confident to say that my French dramatically transformed over these past four months. I feel fluent in speaking. My grammar and writing have greatly improved, as well as my comprehension skills. I love the French language and cannot wait to continue to learn and improve.

FRENCH CULTURE

I cried when I left New York because I was nervous of the new culture and new country I was going to experience. But fortunately for me, I didn’t experience culture shock. I adapted so well to France. The culture isn’t as different as we think it is from the US. The biggest difference and difficulty for me was the language.
Maybe it was because I had already traveled to Europe before and was just there this summer, but I was really not surprised by the culture.
I was also not home sick, fortunately. I do go to school in North Carolina which is far away from home, so maybe that’s also why. And as my mom would say, “with technology these days” it is so easy to stay in contact with loved ones. The time difference was a bit hard at first, but once we figured it out, all was well.

FRENCH FOOD

I loved living in France because of the amazing food!
I love escargot! Beef Bourgogne was delicious.
I wasn’t a huge fan of red wine before coming to France, but now I am in love! Especially with 2015 Bourgogne Pinot Noir!

I love the food and the wine culture in France! I would love to take the style of drinking and eating for two hours every lunch and dinner every day back to the states with me. I learned that Europeans in general just love life more than Americans. They appreciate it more. They work to live and not live to work.

FRIENDS

I made the most amazing new friends and strengthened relationships with old ones! You will make friends that will last you a life time. Putting people into new and scary situations makes everyone’s true colors come out. My study abroad experience was especially sweet because I met a great guy.

NIGHT LIFE

The night life in Dijon was eh, but bar hopping was a lot of fun! Being a legal age to drink was a lot of fun. I felt like a real adult. Clubbing was definitely the best in Barcelona!

TRAVEL

Traveling was so fun. Exhausting, but fun. I got to see so many cities in France but also in Europe! Once you are in Europe, travel is way easier than if you were to come from the states and go around Europe! That French Visa is magical! Three-day weekends were amazing and two full days was just enough time to get a feel for a new city.

But whoever said flights are dirt cheap in Europe is a liar!
Train tickets or bus tickets are way less expensive.
Flight tickets in Europe are the same prices as tickets in the states.

The one thing that I didn’t like about living in Dijon was that it was a little bit of a hassle to get to the airport.
We trained most places because it just made more sense time and money wise and the trains went straight out of Dijon! TGV trains are amazing! They need to bring them to the states.
We flew a couple of times out of CDG, but there aren’t that many direct trains to the airport, but we made it work!

LIFE LESSONS

Overall, I matured dramatically. I was legal to drink for the first time ever. I traveled around Europe with my friends. We made reservations at hotels and booked flights.
We were real adults, minus the cooking and cleaning and the work part. But real adults with complicated travel situations and life situations in general.

I also learned a lot about myself, like I do every year! I learned to go with the flow, and that I can’t control everything. I am such a planner and so type “A” but I realized you can’t plan everything and it is SO FUN being spontaneous! You can’t worry about things that are out of your control!!

I was sad to leave the US when I came in August and now I am sad that I left France.
One day we will meet again ma belle!

(Also, if this blog post didn’t make you want to study abroad or travel or go on the Wake Forest Dijon program, then you better re-read!)

Thanks for reading

Xoxo

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1 comment

  1. France is undoubtedly a remarkable place for a foodie like me. Relishing French authentic cuisine is like a dream come true. France Visa professionals made the cumbersome task of Visa application easier for me.

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