In most exchange circles, you could call me the elder. Indeed, France and I go way back. I was 13 when I made my first pilgrimage to Paris with my middle school (shout out Madame Polter!). That first trip was clearly an impactful experience as three years later I would return, this time for a long exchange with Rotary International.
High school in France taught me two things : how to speak French (sort of) and that I definitely didn’t want to pay Amercain prices for a college education. So one gap year plus tard, I found myself enrolled at Université Lyon 2.
People always ask, « Why France » as if cheese and wine aren’t good enough answers.
Well, you must know, France won my heart with its accessibility. The United States has this tendency of making everything expensive and it’s harder for young people to go to school let alone enjoy concerts, museums, vacations, etc . France however is THE place to enrich yourself, all doors are open. As communications major, I enjoy the unedning lineup of exposes and events available to students.
In addition to my studies, I’ve been managing PR at a local tech startup for the past year. My job has afforded me invaluable experience in communications and French company culture.
In the future, I don’t know what country I’ll land but I know my voice will always be influenced by my time in France.
I am from Oregon, or as I like to tell French people, « above California ». Despite being geographically insignificant fo foreigners, Oregon is a wonderful (and wild) place to grow up. It’s covered with dense forests, waterfalls, moutains, and hippies.
Not unlike many youth, I desperately wanted to get the heck out of my hometown. Now I miss it.
When I go home during the summer, you’ll find me hicking with my boyfriend, lounging around sunny riverbanks, and drinking wine on the porch with family.
In France, I live in Lyon, or as I like to tell my American friends, « below Paris ». In reality, Lyon is far superior to Paris. Hear me out : we have TWO rivers. That means twice as mouch lounging.
Joke aside, Lyon is an incredible place to live. In a single day you can walk through roman ruins, renaissance courtyards, botanicla gardens, and tunnels used by the resistance. The best part about living in a city like Lyon is when you finally grow out of the tourist and eneter the quotidien. I love taking the metro in the morning, reading a free newspaper alongside dozens of othe students. There are 100,000 students at any given time in the city. That’s half the population of my hometown in Oregon.
What will never get old is the contrast (and the unexpected similarities) between where I’m from and where I am.
Sometimes it’s a struggle but there’s something immensely gratifying about having to learn a new environment, a new language, a new way of being.
How can we make the most out of our experience abroad?
That’s the question I want to explore in my time as an E-Ambassador. Of course, I will try to share tips I’ve accumulated (through trial and error) during my time in France.
Though, my hope is to go a bit further : to turn this blog into a conversation starter, a network, a living resource.
If you’re a student in France, (or preparing to come to France), I’m always available via email or DM. Let’s chat! This ambassador is à l’écoute 🙂