Acclimate and Accommodate

Esinam G. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from The Madeira School in Virginia. 

This week will mark the 6-week point since having arrived in Rennes. The unfamiliarity of the city, people and culture is slowly wearing off and the desire to further explore and make the most of this experience grows stronger as each minute passes.

Every experience I have continues to raise the standard for what I consider to be out of my comfort zone and I am looking forward to sharing and experiencing 7 more months in this beautiful city.

Two weeks ago, along with our host siblings, we traversed the bay of Mont-Saint Michel and that trip gave me a new meaning of what it means to acclimate and accommodate. This was a trip filled with a little apprehension of the unknown which quickly turned into laughter and friendship. Students and host siblings found creative ways to get to know each other using “Franglais” and gestures wherever necessary.

I couldn’t help but notice the huge effort all the host siblings made to introduce themselves, speak English and find commonalities between us whether it was music, food or hobbies. At every point where conversation dwindled, they quickly found another topic to discuss. One of my goals for my year abroad is to acclimate into the life here and find ways to strike a conversation with someone without sweating profusely. During this trip, regardless of age, all the host siblings were already equipped with these skills and more so, were able to apply them in a language that was not the easiest for them. It is through this observation that my goal was further reinforced.

 Within such a short amount of time, I have noticed everyone’s willingness to make us feel more at home and make us feel less of an outsider but in reality, we are not here to make the world around us more like the one we are used to as hard as that is. This year is an incredible opportunity to push your boundaries and talk to people even if you can barely make it through a sentence without stumbling.

It is easy to get comfortable with the idea of others adjusting for you but it is important to recognize when this is happening and find ways to make sure you are making the effort to learn, explore and to lead conversation. This does not mean changing who you are but daring to explore a different part of you. Focus on the part of yourself that solidified your decision to travel and hopefully when the year is done, you will be equipped with skills that will carry on throughout your life.  

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