Looking Back & Looking Forward

Hello again! It’s been awhile, but I think it’s about time that I sit down and really reflect on the time I was able to spend studying abroad in Grenoble, France. I arrived back here in the states at the end of December, and there hasn’t been a day that’s passed without me thinking about those four months in which I was able to fully immerse myself in a new culture, a new experience, and a new way of life. Looking back now, I can really appreciate my time abroad, and reflect on everything that I gained.

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Le musée d’Orsay

Now, there are of course the usual takeaways; I was able to improve my french language skills, I met some really great people that I still consider great friends, and I have so many memories that will always be with me. This experience gave me so much more than that, though, and I will forever be grateful for that. I walked away with much more confidence, and the ability to really adapt to a new situation. I lived so far outside of my comfort zone that I now feel like I can conquer just about anything- within reason at least. Being in a country where I only had the most basic understanding of the language gave me a much better insight to other second-language learners, and empathy towards their very real struggles. I was exposed to new cultures and ways of life which opened me up to a new appreciation of cultural diversity and the importance of taking time to learn and experience new cultures different from your own.

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In front of the Louvre!

Here’s the thing; I think it’s hard to fully grasp just how breathtaking and beautiful and diverse the world out there is until you get out there and just experience it. I am so incredibly grateful for the time I was able to spend abroad, and would recommend this experience to every single person out there. Whether it’s for a few weeks or a few months or a whole year, just get out there! See a new country, learn a new language, study in a new environment, appreciate new surroundings, and take advantage of all of the study abroad programs that are available!

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Exploring Annecy, France

I’m feeling especially lucky and grateful to be heading off for another study abroad experience in just a few weeks, although this time much closer to home. I’ll be taking full advantage of Western’s global learning programs and going to Montreal, Quebec on a faculty-led four week program. I’ll have the opportunity to continue to work on my french, albeit with a much different dialect and accent. I will say, the travel bug is very real, because ever since I returned from France I have been eagerly awaiting another opportunity to get back out there and explore the world. So this is a big shout out to Western for giving us so many opportunities like this! Looking even further into the future, with graduation just a mere 9 months away, I am constantly considering more opportunities that will allow me to continue to travel and explore. Studying abroad in France and heading off soon to Canada has given me the confidence and the motivation to not only use my language skills, but to also continue with my passion of studying and learning from other cultures (I am an anthropology major after all!).

Boat tour in Paris

So here’s to looking back on the experience of a lifetime studying in Grenoble, looking forward to a different experience in Montreal, and to an ignited passion for constantly wanting to explore and discover what the world out there has to offer us! I hope everyone out there that might be reading this will get to experience the joy and wonder that comes from traveling and getting out of your comfort zone 🙂

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