It’s difficult to fathom that in twelve days, I’ll be over 3,500 miles from my home in Marion, Massachusetts.  Rather than returning to my dorm room at Boston College in the fall, I’ll be moving in with a French family.  Instead of spending my first few days catching up with my best friends and swapping stories about our summer vacations, I’ll be meeting new students from other universities across the United States as we study together at IAU.  My daily meals will no longer consist of trips to the dining hall where the cashiers know me by name; rather, I’ll be ordering from cafés in shaky French.

I’ve spent my entire life in Massachusetts, alternating between my hometown near Cape Cod and my college life in a Boston suburb.  My studies in French began in 7th grade as a requirement, continued into high school as a subject I liked, and carried into college as a passion.  Since I made the decision to spend my fall semester in Aix, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  I’ve read up on Cezanne, made mental notes about the most popular sites to visit, and searched for images of the city on the internet so I’ll know what to expect when I arrive.

Preparation started with countless applications and forms.  Booking flights and hotels came next, a slightly more exciting aspect of my planning.  The last piece to the logistics puzzle was my visit to the French Consulate in Boston.  With a folder packed full of documents and photocopies, I nervously entered the consulate. I expected a formal meeting where I’d be taken to a room by myself and questioned about my travel plans. You can imagine my relief when the meeting consisted of passing my documents through a window, handing over my passport, and leaving ten minutes later.

With all the paperwork and logistics behind me, all I have left to do is wait…and pack.  I’m putting off the process of packing my life into a meager two suitcases, as my packing for BC usually fills up our whole SUV.  Nevertheless, to say I’m excited for my semester in France is an understatement.  I can’t wait to meet my new French family, hike up Mont Saint Victoire, meet French students and learn about popular culture, expand my language skills, explore the city of Aix, and learn to be more independent.  I’m also terrified, of course, and I’m dreading my goodbyes to my family and friends.  However, I’m confident that trading my American life for four months in the south of France will be worth it.

As they say, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  Trading in the familiar comforts of my life at home and at BC for an entirely new experience next semester in France is possibly the farthest I’ve ever gone out of my comfort zone.  That being said, I couldn’t be more thrilled for my life in France to begin.  I’ll try my best to document my French life through stories and photographs on this blog throughout the semester! 

 


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