I remember my first step into Paris, my first encounter with a historical monument, my first spoken word of French, and even my first bite into a mouth-watering French dish. Most of all, I remember the unfamiliarity and the initial fear and trepidation of being alone in a big city.
Sure, I've been independent during my first year in college - except I was a mere 3 hours away from home, in a city similar to my hometown, speaking a language everyone understood.
So, it isn't surprising at all that the biggest change I've developed while in Paris had everything to do with my character.
I became fiercely independent, unafraid of being alone, more confident and secure, and most importantly, I became dramatically more mature. Living in a foreign place essentially requires you to rely on yourself and to believe in yourself. Believe that you can successfully have a conversation in French, believe that you can navigate the intricate transportation systems, believe that you can plan your own travel itineraries while also juggling classes and schoolwork.
|Studying in Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève - after figuring out how to get myself a library card|
The best way to change for the better is to step out of your comfort zone and experience things for yourself. While in Paris, I took on an internship, applied for a job, shopped and made meals for myself, traveled alone, and stayed positive and open-minded. These activities directly contributed to making me more mature and independent.
|Some home-made pasta|
Even though I was only able to fulfill two of my major's requirements with the classes I was taking while studying abroad in Paris, I don't regret embarking on this journey at all. I feel that even beyond academics, the real life skills I've learned while in Paris will stay with me throughout my future and make me more inclined to success.
|Reflecting on my semester abroad|
Studying abroad obviously isn't an easy, thoughtless adventure. I definitely had my fair share of struggles while abroad! Here are some things I wish I knew before going abroad:
- Always plan any trips in advance. You'd be able to save so much money and stay organized.
- Keep up with your budget by recording your purchases so you don't overspend.
- Doing things alone isn't at all scary. In fact, it's quite therapeutic and exhilarating!
|Having a meal on your own can be fun!|
Bonne chance and have fun!
Kayla K. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Paris, France. She is currently a sophomore studying Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Pre-Law at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Kayla King is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Point Loma Nazarene University.