When I first decided that I wanted to study abroad in the French Riviera, the entire process was what some might call — a whirlwind. I am the kind of person that if I want something, I will stop at almost nothing to make sure it happens, so once the idea popped into my head, I was all about it. My only problem: Where I was going to go? There were so many locations and programs to choose from, and the only thing I knew was that I wanted to go as soon as possible. I stumbled upon the CEA French Riviera program and was instantly intrigued because everything was so clear and easy to understand. Everyone I know had studied in larger, more known cities such as London, Paris, and Florence. However, because I am who I am, I wanted my experience to be different. Little did I know, the tiny town of Antibes, France would change my life almost instantly.
In the months leading up to my departure, I was constantly being asked by friends and family if I was ready and excited. What does one usually say to that, yes? That would be the assumed answer, but I couldn’t really put into words how I was feeling at first. I had never left the United States before this adventure, so I did not know what to expect. The one thing I knew was that I was secretly worried about being so far away from everything I knew as comfortable. To be honest, it didn’t set in until about the 8th day, but that’s a story for another time.
Essentially from the first day we all arrived, our calendars have continuously been filled to the brim with events. I like to believe our busy schedule has helped with alleviating most of the homesickness that I would have otherwise gotten, had I been traveling completely alone. All of my fellow CEA peers are the best people I have been lucky enough to meet and experience this with, and we have known each other for only a week. Whether they know it or not, they have helped me to feel undoubtedly comfortable in our new home, and I have been able to overcome my fears of being homesick.
In the week we have been here, I have observed that, although there are some definite differences between students from France and students from the U.S. when it all comes down to it, we really are all here doing the same thing. We have been lucky enough to befriend some of the French students at the school who welcomed us with open arms and full invitations. I have a feeling that these people will be an integral part of our experiences here.
In essence, this experience has already gone above and beyond what I could have expected. I get to say that I live in this absolutely amazing place, and the best part is that it’s only just begun.
Evelyn Little is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in French Riviera, France, and is currently studying at Washington State University.