As my time in Paris comes to a close, I’ve been noticing a lot how I’ve changed, but even more so how my views on studying abroad have changed also. There are still so many reasons why I think study abroad is important and everyone should do it, but they’ve changed slightly to now that I know what living in a foreign country for a semester is actually like.
Then: I want to travel.
Now: I NEED to travel.
| Took an unplanned detour into Montenegro over
spring break because when you have
wanderlust the question is always "why not?"
Before, when I talked to people about traveling, of course I said I wanted to travel in my lifetime, but I didn’t really say it with any conviction or any place in mind when talking about it. It was just an, ‘oh, yeah, it would be great to go to Europe or something,’ sort of response. Now, I can’t imagine my life without traveling, and I know I will try to see as much of the world as I can.
Then: I want to learn about other cultures.
Now: I want to immerse myself in other cultures.
|Always down to try new things!|
Being abroad has shown me the value of not only learning about other cultures but letting yourself take part in them. I’m no longer afraid of weird looking foods or confused by things that don’t seem “normal” to me. Now as I’ve been traveling around to other countries, I enjoy watching the world around me and trying to imitate and let myself be a part of the new culture.
Then: I want to use the language I have been learning since high school.
Now: I need to learn the language better.
I am not naive enough to think I was good at French before coming to Paris, but being here has definitely shown me that I knew less than I thought I did. However, being abroad is absolutely the best way to improve your language skills, and though I was worse than I thought I was at the beginning, I am probably better at French than I realize now. Sometimes I surprise myself when I listen to French and immediately understand what is going on around me. Slowly but surely, being in Paris is making me a better French speaker and also makes me want to learn more languages (which is something I definitely would not have said before).
Overall, there are so many reasons why I want to continue to travel abroad and why I think everyone should take the chance if they can. I value every experience and all of the memories I’ve made while in Paris, and I don’t want to leave. However, the inevitable is coming whether I want it to or not, so all I can say is that if there’s one thing I’ve learned while abroad, it’s that I’ll be back someday.
|Bye Paris, thank you.|
Kacie Diamond is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at University of Wisconsin – Madison.
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