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Lessons learned after moving across the ocean

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(in the in the Pyrenees on a weekend trip)

Hello again!

I thought in this entry I would tell you a little about why I chose to study abroad in the first place, and what I think I will gain/what I have already gained on my specific program.

I know students choose to study abroad for myriad reasons: to experience another culture, to learn a new language, and to be a part of something they never have before. For me I think the choice was based largely on the fact that I wanted to be able to speak French fluently, but I had never considered that in pursuit of that one goal I might find myself growing way more than I had ever intended.

I like to think of myself as an independent person but when the lifestyle that I had become accustomed to was left in one part of the world while I traveled to another, it was quite an adjustment for me. In France I had to find my way around, register for classes at the last second (because that's how it's done here), navigate a strange tram system, figure out how to live with my host family of complete strangers, and of course do all of this while speaking a non-native language.

I'm going to be honest here and say that the first few weeks were really hard. Once I was finally situated and had everything figured out I realized I had certainly gained things along the way: patience while waiting three hours in line for a tram pass, adaptability as I learned to use the language day in and day out, and of course appreciation for a beautiful culture so different from my own.

So I guess what I am saying is that after coming back from a study abroad experience, prepare to be a different person with an ability to see a lot of things in a different light. I think that's what makes studying abroad so important for business students because after returning home there is a whole new and fresh way of thinking that develops. This can make you extremely valuable to a company because you can relate to people and understand why they are different from you. Being here is like one big classroom, and I hope I can soak it all up.

I am about a month and a half into my program in France now and it feels like it has gone by in a flash so I'll try to stop and smell the roses along the rest of the way and continue growing and adapting because that's what will make this experience an incredible one.

À très bientôt!

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