Why studying abroad was one of the best years of my life...

April 17, 2014
You know the expression, "Living the dream?" I feel like there was one year of my life that I actually did get to live the dream, and that was the year I studied abroad in France.  I know I will never have it that good or easy again, so I'm going to re-live some of my favorite moments of my study abroad experience by sharing them with you!

So, why was it so great?

* I was immersed in the French language, which is something every French major wants or should want!  One of the best ways to learn a language is to jump right in and try to speak it with the natives, which is something I could rarely do in Ohio.  It was daunting at first and I'm sure I made a lot of mistakes, but the important thing was that I learned from them.  I picked up so many phrases and new words that I wouldn't have learned in a regular classroom setting at my university.

* I got to live in the dorms just like many French college students did.  Residing in the dorms helped my American pals and I make so many friends from all over the world.  Because of our experience, I became friends with Italians, Tunisians, Germans, and even a few French people. Talking with them broadened my horizons and changed my views of the world.  On top of that, since my school was an international one, my classmates were also from all over the globe, too!

* The friendships I made from that year were ones that were long lasting.  I am still in contact with many of the people I met while I was overseas.  I actually met up with some of my Japanese friends in Tokyo a few years later and got to meet my Singaporean friend in her home country and in New Zealand.  My OSU friends and I are still in touch, too.  A few months back we started a Facebook thread and reminisced about old times.  I really made some friends for life.

* My friend Mandi and I used France as our base to explore many other places in Europe.    It was so easy just to hop on a train and be in a new city or even a different country in sometimes as little as a few hours.  One weekend we'd be in Italy, and the next weekend we'd be in Belgium.

* I got to try so many new kinds of food!  Before France I never even had fondue!!  After my trip I came away with a love of creperies, Comte cheese, Monacos, St. Emilion wine, and peche melba, to name a few.

* So many things got crossed off my bucket list that year it's not even funny!  I'm so grateful and amazed that I even got to do all of these things in such a short span of time.

I rode in a gondola in Venice.

Mandi and I went to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest.

We also signed up to go to wine tastings in Bordeaux.

We kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

We went up an Alp in Switzerland.

We traveled to Eastern Europe.

We got to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

We visited Stonehenge.

We spent New Year's in Paris.

We toured the Colosseum and Vatican.

* I left Europe having had a full set of adventures and in many ways I grew up a lot that year.  I became more independent than I ever was at home because in France I was challenged to communicate in another language.  Having this opportunity and being immersed in the French culture helped me to learn more about my own culture and background.  The whole experience made me a lot more open minded, and I came back to the States with a deeper understanding of global issues because I learned about others' perspectives as well.

* Even though my trip happened over a decade ago, I continue to find myself hysterically laughing at a memory that will randomly pop into my head from my time in Europe.  Thanks to my studying aboad, I am still very passionate about traveling and having experiences abroad even today.

Studying abroad was hands down the best decision I ever made!

What is something that you've done that you do not regret at all?  Speaking of things you shouldn't regret, why not take a shot at winning this fabulous Whitney English Day Designer?


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14 comments on "Why studying abroad was one of the best years of my life..."
  1. I studied abroad in Spain for a month and it was amazing. I'm so sad it wasn't for longer, but the time I was there was incredible.

  2. Wow thats awesome...I hope I get to travel one day!

  3. OMG this is great... still thinking of the China thing but I'm still unsure!

    1. That is a huge decision! Is your friend still in?

  4. Travel is rarely regrettable. In fact, it's pretty awesome! I definitely don't regret going to New Zealand alone for a few months on a working holiday, even though everybody I knew thought I was insane at the time. That was one of the best trips I've ever taken, plus I got to visit Australia and Fiji on the way back!

    1. That sounds like a fabulous time! You're right--I only regret a few trips I've taken. One of them was a trip to Corsica, and that's just because it was so expensive to get there, and once we were there we just had like 2 full days and it rained the whole time. It was a very last minute trip and I wish I would have saved the $ then and planned a better trip later.

  5. Travel definitely broadens the mind. If I had never travelled before, or couldn't travel, I would feel stifled. There is so much to see, do, explore and eat around the world!


    1. You are so right!! I hope that a big trip is coming up soon in my near future! :)

  6. Studying abroad is such an amazing life changing experience!

  7. I'm glad I'm sisters with such a world traveler. Going on a trip with you is always so much fun because you always make sure we do the best things in the area! :) We'll have to plan another trip together soon!

    1. We really should! I'd love to go back to Italy with you.