Study Abroad- One Year LaterNantes, Spring 2009

The idea that it has been (nearly) one full year since I returned from France is a little surreal. I really wish it hadn't been so long, but I suppose you can't stop the sands of time. However, even though a year has passed, in some ways, I feel as if the life I had while I was in Nantes hasn't completely ended. First of all, I'm still in contact with many of the people I met while I was abroad-- my French homestay family and I exchanged Christmas cards and pictures, and I've written letters and emails to them since returning home (in fact, that reminds me--I want to write them an email about how I just finished my senior French written and oral exams, and how much their conversations with me improved my speaking ability). I'm also still facebook friends with tons of people I met at the Universite de Nantes-- French students and students from across Europe. I still keep in contact with people in France, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hungary, Mexico, and others. I really hope to be able to go back someday soon and catch up with everybody, especially my host family and my tango friends! In addition to that, the experiences I had while traveling both in France and through many different European countries have changed my life forever. I can no longer imagine my life without travel and exploration. For that reason, I've decided to embark on a crazy adventure after I graduate in May-- next year, I will be living in Shantou, China teaching English at the University of Shantou. Although I've now lived in North America, South America, and Europe, I've never been to Asia (and I don't speak a word of Mandarin!), but the confidence I built from spending five months in Nantes, France, with IES Abroad shows me that I have the ability to adapt and enjoy living anywhere in the world. Life is an adventure, and even though my semester in France was over nearly a year ago, my journey isn't going to end there! Somehow, I ended up procrastinating on my scrapbook, and so after I graduate, I'm really looking forward to going home for a few weeks, flipping back through all the pictures, posters, and little souvenirs that I collected (including a few apple cider labels and menus from "Creperie St. Croix") and putting it all back together for myself. And after that, it's off to China, and who knows what else after that! To those of you about to embark on your semester abroad, good luck on all your adventures, and enjoy every minute of it, because as Ferris Bueller once said "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
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