Stella M. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Saint Mary's Hall in Texas.
As the Toussaint Vacation approaches, it is surreal to believe that I have been in Rennes for a little over a month. It seems like yesterday that I was on a plane departing from Boston to Paris, anxiously anticipating my arrival in the city that I am now proud to call my second home.
Throughout the past six weeks, I have learned an abundance of information in my classes, spanning from the l’architecture des églises to the correct usage of les prepositions; but above all, I have learned, and I am still learning, how to adapt to change.
You are bound to be faced with many differences while living abroad, whether it is the obvious- everything is en français, or small habitual differences while living with a host family. That being said, it is incredibly beneficial to step outside your comfort zone and plunge into a way of life. I would say that having an open mind is key. Life is full of change, and the more experience you have adjusting to it, the better. Transitioning into a new way of life can be a bit overwhelming at times, and I have come to the conclusion that you simply have to take it one day at a time, as the reality is that doing a year abroad, especially in high school, is a risk. It is a risk that is impossible to prepare for, no matter how many times you memorize the subjunctive. You cannot be fearful of making mistakes, moreover, you have to embrace your mistakes, whether or not if they result in a group of locals bursting out in hysteric laughter. As painfully cliché as it sounds, every mishap is an opportunity to grow.
While I have been faced with a few expected obstacles this past month, the good ultimately outnumbers the bad. I can’t possibly name them all, but here are some of my highlights from the past month:
· Running through the coarse sandy beach of Camaret-Sur-Mer with those who I am so lucky to call mes amies
· Watching the Parent Trap (en français, bien sûr) with my 11-year-old host sister, Albane, who, might I add, is identical to a young Lindsey Lohan - Now there are triplets!
· Crossing La Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel with Albane and all of SYA France
· Playing a rigorous game of Pétanque while in Saint Malo with my host siblings, Alix and Aurélè
· Picnics in the picturesque Parc du Thabor with beaucoup de pain et fromage!
· Visiting the inspiring photography exhibit at La Gacilly
· Having delicious crêpes every Sunday with my incredible host family
Although I have only been here for a mere six weeks, I would, without a doubt, encourage anyone considering SYA to apply. Take the leap if you have the chance, and don’t doubt your instinct. About a year ago from today, I was perusing through past blogs, going back and forth in my mind, asking myself if this is something I truly want to pursue. All I can say is that I feel so grateful that I have the opportunity to spend this school year in France, and I am so glad I went with the voice in my head telling me that I could not pass this up.
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- SYA France