France!! No way!!

Growth: 5
Support: 5
Fun: 5
Housing: 5
Safety: 5

Rester, c'est exister, mias voyager, c'est vivre. To stay in the same place is to exist, but to travel is to live. This Summer 2018, I was given the life changing opportunity to go abroad, in which I was exposed to French life and culture over the span of 3 weeks, even visiting the country of Germany in the process. All honesty, I had personally thought that although I was given the chance, I wasn't going to be able to experience it due to the complication of not having a passport, but surely enough, after 7 attempts (a long story) I was handed the blue colored leather document and within the next 4 days, I was seated in the aisle seat of a plane to France. My first few days were definitely an introduction to the country, the moment where I was able to dip my toe into the water to test it all out, consisting of sight seeing, metro trips and trying new foods that some could only imagine eating, like snails. It wasn't until I had seen the Eiffel tower that the fact that I was in France hit me by 25%.

Soon after, we left Paris and headed to the city of Nancy, where I jumped straight into French life, living with strangers who easily became my second family. I fell in love with my homestay parents and siblings as soon as they approached me, flipping through French to English dictionaries. They led me around their hometown, bringing me to the square, explaining the history and buying me treats I hadn't known existed such as bubble gum ice cream. At home, I was treated like their own child, running around the backyard with my brother and sisters playing soccer, helping set the table and cook dinner and even witnessing France win the world cup, which ended in an everlasting celebration. It was the day we departed from our families, as we wiped the tears off of each others cheeks that the fact that I was in France hit me by 50%. We headed straight to Germany for 3 days after our homestays, where we had gotten a glimpse of German life, including their food and luxurious hotels before going back to France. The last few days, we did more sightseeing and group bond building, our last night ending with dinner on a boat right beside the glowing tower before taking a boat ride around the area. That night, I was hit with by 70% realisation.

It was like before I could say “allez les bleus”, I was on my way back to America. That morning in the airport, our goodbyes were filled with fresh tears and 98% of realisation that I had just spent 3 weeks in the home country of the Eiffel Tower and the macaroon (even with the fact that I couldn't stop saying “merci” after being offered anything) hit me. I came home with not just French phrases staining my vocabulary or the fact that I communicate with my homestay family with every chance I had, but also with a sense of independence, self worth and confidence in trying new things. Till this day, I still feel like I’m dreaming, like I hadn't gone to France and Germany at the age of 16, being an African American girl from a low income part of New York, but I did, that's all thanks to The Experiment In International Living.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed