A Year Worth of Memories

Julia A. is currently a senior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Francis W. Parker School in Illinois.

  Walking down the streets of                              Rennes

It's been just over a month. Just a month of my life has flown by in a wave of excitement, exhaustion and relentless happiness. Just a month of my life has consisted of me being welcomed into a family of 5, finding the best friends I could have asked for, having my camera roll overflow with beautiful memories and feeling like the cliche of that girl. Feeling an overwhelming amount of gratitude that there isn't a moment of my life where I regret that I took this jump and not a moment where I want to be anywhere else. I had a great life, a chapter of my book that I wasn't quite ready to close. I signed up for SYA France at the beginning of my sophomore year. I still vividly remember getting my acceptance email at 8:06 am in the morning in the locker room of my school after basketball practice. I remember that feeling of hope, certainty and relief, and I remember even more the feeling when Covid took it away from me. As a rising senior with the question of accepting deferral hanging over my head, I faced a lot of opinions. Many people told me not to defer, that I wouldn't want to miss out on my senior year and that I could do a year abroad in college. But each time I felt stuck on my decision I asked myself why would I stay instead of why would I go. What could possibly be more important than completely immersing myself in the language of my dreams? What is more important than challenging myself and gaining incredibly unique new experiences? I tried to think of everything to convince myself not to go instead of convincing myself why I should go, yet nothing worked. If challenge, growth, and experience doesn't appeal to you, this is not the program for you. If you are looking for the experience of your life instead of a conventional high school year, then stick with me and I'll try to depict this indescribable journey that has made me feel more alive than ever before.  

Given that this is my first blog, I thought some introductions would be in order. My name is Julia Ashworth, I am currently a 17 year old senior at SYA France. I have two siblings: a 21 year old sister and a 19 year old brother. I was raised in California, so adventure has always been a big part of my life, but I grew up in Chicago, so being surrounded by people and night life also became a comfort. I have an attachment to both of those aspects of my life: nature and city, and Rennes is the perfect place for both. It’s basically just the most beautiful college town around. Downtown Rennes is paved with cobblestone streets, tons of cafes and restaurants, and delicate architecture. There are these times of days (still TBD exactly) when there are swarms of college students commuting to or from school, so you feel a mix of solace and isolation. You are surrounded by students your age with relatively the same purpose, but you are also embarrassed because you are painfully obviously an American. Nevertheless, the farmers and flea markets make up for any slight inconvenience. Being here has sent me through a lot of emotions, but every push through has resulted in a happy new memory. Whether it’s the first time at a dinner with tons of fast speaking French people or having to order a moka at your new favorite spot. It's a challenge, that's for sure, but it's one with immense amounts of rewards. It’s been a month, but it's felt like a year worth of memories already. 

  • Campus Reporters
  • SYA France
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