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Goodbye McDonald's, Hello Unforgettable Semester in Grenoble

June 08, 2016
by CEA CAPA Content Creator
I’m going to miss Grenoble. Most of all I will miss taking the tram to get around the city and walking through the park to get home. Grenoble has been the perfect place for observing people. Indian men playing cricket in the little green patch of grass outside the Hotel de Ville station. Couples picnicking on the wooden bench discussing their day. Strangers conversing in the blue bus with their children unafraid to play under watchful eyes. I will miss the trees here which serve as a sort of living protection. The fathers playing badminton with their children. The stairs in my apartment building that have strengthened my calves. The sunrise behind the Alps. I will return to California in three short weeks but I will not forget all of the progress and truly awesome memories I have made during my study abroad experience.
 I am going to miss the beautiful building of Grenoble

There is very little I would change about the time I have spent here in France. It did take awhile to get adjusted to the French culture and to constantly speak French, but the patience that I have gained is a valuable quality that I will have for the rest of my life. Back in January, my favorite place to go for dinner was McDonald's. After traveling thousands of miles across the Atlantic and into France I chose to frequent this American fast-food restaurant. To be fair, many French students my age frequent McDonald's as well,  so maybe it still sort of counted as a French dining experience? Okay no, it really did not because I mostly went there since I could order via an electronic machine. My friends and I would stumble when speaking French and were disappointed in ourselves when French people would speak back to us in English.  We had studied the language for years, but somehow interacting with native speakers was marginally more difficult.
 An authentic French burger is always better

Yesterday, I was chose to eat lunch at a local burger restaurant with my friend, Egan. We ordered in French like it was second nature and actually discussed how much better that restaurant was compared to McDonald's. Surprisingly, it was cheaper too. Even more surprising, neither of us could remember the last time we went out for fast-food. Study abroad provides us with the opportunity to not only be exposed, but also to be immersed in a new culture. Of course, it is up to us to take that opportunity. I had to make the decision to go visit castles, try new restaurants, walk a different path in the city and interact with students from all around the world. I am so grateful to my CEA program for providing me with the support and countless opportunities. Furthermore, I am proud of myself for taking advantage of such opportunities. I am going to miss Grenoble dearly. 

Samantha Steed is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO in Grenoble, France. She is currently a junior at Soka University. 

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