The time before I leave for France is quickly disappearing! Right now I am experiencing both pure excitement and absolute terror! When I was first applying to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France for the academic year I had almost no reservations. I thought I had come to terms with leaving friends, family, and Badger Nation for the best year of my life thus far (I can speculate, right?). I still am feeling fine about leaving the comforts of campus for a life in France, but I am beginning to realize that I have severely underestimated all of the details involved with studying abroad! I have recently been reading through all of the materials for this program, and all I can say is, “WOW.” I am sufficiently overwhelmed!
I have been to France once before, but my stay was brief and I was a minor, so I didn’t have to figure out all of these details like getting a visa, booking flights, and arranging housing. While all of these details are causing me a lot of worry right now, I also see it as a bridge to adulthood. Maybe that is a weird way to look at it, but for the first time in my life I will be completely on my own. Of course, I have some independence here on campus, but my parents are only a phone call away! It has been extremely convenient to get answers to questions immediately. After reading through all of the program materials for Aix, I was struck by all of the adult things I will have to do without any help from my family AND in French! Woah! This will certainly be an adventure. I am definitely up for the challenge, but it will take a lot of planning, as well as flexibility, on my part. I know I can’t make predictions now because I really have no way of conceptualizing my time in Aix, but I think I will return to America in a year with a newfound independence! If I can navigate around Europe and live on my own for a year, living in Wisconsin for my senior year will have to be a cakewalk, right? Well, we shall see! For now, I am putting a lot of trust in IAP and in the planning I am doing now to get me started on my adventure abroad. I think this year in Aix-en-Provence will be exciting, challenging, and downright remarkable! I look forward to all of the ins, outs, ups, and downs of international living, and I hope you will join me on this ride by reading this blog! For now it’s time to say au revoir to life in Madison and bonjour to life in Aix!