Shortly before I left WSU I signed up for on the “Cougs Abroad Blog Squad”. They have sent out the first 2 of 8 prompts that we will need to write during our stay here. The first prompt is about preparing to leave and since I received it about a week ago, I cannot accurately answer that one, so I will start with Prompt #2, which states:
****Prompt #2 What’s Happening?
You’re abroad, settled in, and attending classes. So… how’s it going?
Choose a picture to post on your blog and describe in some detail why it best describes your experience in-country to date. Think about how it portrays the emotions, feelings and thoughts that you are having as you settle into your overseas experience
…After pasting the prompt, I sat at this computer for about 15 minutes trying to come up with something interesting to write. I’m afraid my experience abroad has been pretty standard. It’s definitely different from how I imagined it would be, but I also expected the unexpected. Frankyl, I’m not in culture shock or bedazzled by anything I have encountered thus far.
My classes are enjoyable, but I actually wish they moved at a faster pace. So far we have learned exactly what I taught myself over the summer and was then taught again last semester. I am ready to stop reviewing and tackle new material. I may be the worst in my class, but that is only because I have the weakest vocab and pronounciation, not because of the tenses we are studying. I’m definitely improving my French, but I still want more of a challenge.
My favorite part about my classes here are interacting with the other foreign exchange students. Tonight we are all going to have sushi at Hiroka’s house! I actually hate sushi, but I love to make it and cannot wait to speak French with my friends. It will be a nice change from my daily routine of going home to a lonely and cold room. Speaking of which, the loneliness has been about what I expected; some days I feel fine, others I don’t. I just try my best not to daydream of everything I miss back home and focus on the opportunities at hand.
I chose this as the picture to represent my time here. This was taken on one of my first days in France, when the anticipation of Pau and that feeling of being on the brink of a new time in one’s life was still fresh in my mind.
I wanted a picture with Sarah in it, to exemplify that even though I am miles away, I still think about my family and friends every day. Although Europe is great, I feel that I truly belong in the Pacific Northwest and for me, there really is no place like home.
I also like the fact that I am rather insignificant in this picture and the Sacre Coeur is the dominant part. Before coming to Europe I felt the primary purpose of studying abroad was to have a journey of self discovery, I now feel it is more impactful as a humbling experience. I feel out-of-place here, but oddly enough, I like being an observer and outsider instead of a citizen.
The buildings and streets are rich with culture and history. There is something new to see and learn from everywhere I go. Even the interactions of the USAC kids dealing with their lives here has taught me a lot about human nature. Surprisingly, there are many Americans in USAC who I really don’t care for. I can’t tell if I am just a pessimist, if I got put in a group I don’t fare well with or if the journey abroad has put things in a different light, but I could write an entire blog on my observations of fellow exchange students. From the long distance relationship problems, to the to whispers in the halls and dirty looks, these students have their fair share of drama.
As I’m sure most of you know, the amazing architecture here is also humbling in a manner of it’s own. The Sacre Couer (in the pic) may be the most impressive building I have yet to see in Europe.
Finally, I choose this picture because the Sacre Coeur is a famous Cathedral on the top of a hill overlooking Paris. One of my goals here is to see as many Cathedrals as I can and learn more about the history of Catholicism and the European traditions that are not present in the states. I’m a terrible excuse for a Catholic and not even certain my faith aligns enough with the church to go through my confirmation. Before I decide anything I need to do more research and Europe is the perfect place for that.
Finally the fact that this church overlooks the city made me choose this picture because I want to see as much as I can here. Waking up to the same skyline everyday is a shameful thing to do when there are so many breathtaking views just waiting for our eyes…