I never expected spending a semester abroad to impact me on a particularly deep level; after all, my family travels as much as we can, so I figured it would just be a much longer version of that. I was in the rare position of being the only person in my particular CEA program, but not my location. This led to my developing three distinct groups of friends during my time in Grenoble, each amazing in its own distinct way. My friends from uni were a group made up of locals, the children of prominent international business-people, and long-term study abroad students. In short, they were the best and most interesting drinking buddies a girl could ask for, because where else will you get educated on Tanzanian ideas of respect and Taiwanese street style at the same time?
My CEA group felt, in a way, like home. They were all amazing, sunshine-y people who just made me feel at home during our weekly meetings with Patrick, the greatest program coordinator out there!
And to end it all, my host mom. This woman works night at day to keep her business afloat, supports two kids in collage, and yet finds the time to just sit and talk about life for two hours with a foreigner struggling desperately to keep up with her language. I cannot say enough positive things about my host mom, and about her many incredible friends that she was gracious enough to introduce me to.
The location might have been a selling point for me, but what really ended up having the biggest impact was the confounding range of people from different backgrounds I found myself happily surrounded by,