As I think about the past two and a half months of my life I can’t seem to understand how all of my experiences fit into that small span of time. So let me start from the beginning.
I can still remember the day I landed at the Charles de Gaule airport in Paris with seven other New Paltz students and no idea how to get around like it was yesterday. For the first few days I didn’t understand any signs around or anything anyone was saying. But my relaxed personality kept me from feeling a culture shock and I adjusted to French life almost immediately.
Looking back over two months later I realize many things have happened. Starting with the obvious, my French has greatly improved. But what I did not realize right away was that I had never truly had a conversation in French before my departure. My confidence in the language only arose from conjugating verbs in class and reciting prewritten sentences that I had plenty of time to construct beforehand. Now I find myself debating topics in class and bonding with people that don’t speak a word english.
So far this semester I have made a bunch of incredible friends from all around the country, I learned to rock climb with French directions, and I’ve been to two Rugby games.
I’ve also been lucky enough to enjoy the two excursions included in the SUNY program – the first to Haut-Doubs.
The second trip to both Geneva, Switzerland and Annecy, France was even better.
Though the culture here is much more relaxing than New York, I have had all but a dull moment this semester. We’ve even been lucky enough to enjoy a week off at the end of February for winter break, which made it possible for me to explore other parts of France, including the Carnaval de Nice. Stick around for my next post to see how incredible that vacation was!