Studying Abroad in France: Semaine 10 (Halfway Highlights)
How can it be that the exchange I’ve have been dreaming about for years is already half over? I’m not going to lie, some aspects of this experience have been grueling and seemed to stretch on forever, but that’s okay because they have been balanced with memories that bring a smile to my face, no matter how big or small. So, in celebration of surviving this long, a fact that fills me with confidence that I can continue to thrive and grow in happiness and well-being, I would like to share some of the highlights that happened since I arrived a mere 10 weeks ago. (In no particular order…)
- Meeting fellow exchange students and eating King’s Cake. The day after I arrived, my host family and I went to a party to celebrate King’s Day with my exchange company, WEP. (Some of you might remember how confusing of an experience this was for me; to get the whole story on that, reference my Semaine 1 blog post.) This was the first time I was introduced to an exchange community as a legitimate exchange student. It’s different being a host family member and going to a gathering like this. When you’re an exchange student, these are your people, regardless of their homecountry or nationality. Something I have really appreciated since I’ve arrived here is how much “exchangees” look out for each other. Even if you’re not seeing them in person or in constant messaging contact, you still care about how they’re doing and want to see them succeed, just like they want to see you succeed. Being welcomed into such a magnificent community is one of the best things I’ve experienced on this exchange, if not in my life. The Kings’ Cakes! Exchange student meet up a few weeks later!
- Seeing the Atlantic Ocean from the other side. I have crossed the Atlantic Ocean before and I have seen it from above in an airplane but I’ve never gone to the beach. Let me tell you, it’s just like the Atlantic from North America. But I did get to have some pretty neat experiences visiting Lacanau beach and the Great Dune of Pilat (that truly was a fantastic sight to behold).
- Zumba. I don’t know if this fad is still raging in the US like it was a few years ago and I’m not even sure if it’s raging here in France but I have been lucky enough to join a class with my host mom and host sister and I absolutely love it. There is something just absolutely liberating about dancing wildly and sweating your heart out for an hour. Something else I gained out of my Zumba experience is realizing how much I love women. Like, when I look back on the room full of women all dancing in unison, I can’t help but smile. If you haven’t already given Zumba a try, I would highly recommend it.
- Skiing in the Pyrenees. This past Feburary was my first time ever skiing out of the country and it was an interesting experience. I have to say, I feel like skiing is generally the same just with varying levels of difficulty and quality depending on mountain range and the weather. Overall, I had a very pleasant time and will certainly remember it for many years to come.
- Paris. Everything about this city is wonderful. If ever presented the chance to visit, take it without hesitation.
- Roaming Bordeaux. Although I don’t live directly in the city of Bordeaux, I live close enough that it’s only a bus ride away and I can visit frequently. I gone with my host family, my host sister, and some of my new exchange student friends and each time I find something new to enjoy. Bordeaux has definitely become a city special in my heart and I shall cherish it forever.
This is just a brief, brief overview of some of the things I have been fortunate enough to experience since arriving and I have been so grateful for every moment, good or bad. Here’s to another 10 successful weeks!