Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Time I Studied Abroad

The time I moved to London for my MA in September 2008 - which was the seventh time I'd been to England, if you can believe that - wasn't my first or even my second experience studying abroad.  Technically, the very first time I studied abroad was in 2001, the summer before my sophomore year of high school, when I did a month-long program in France.  (We spent three days in Paris, two weeks in St. Malo, went out on homestays near Rouen for a week, and then finished up with two days in Paris.)  The second time I studied abroad, though, was the first time I really made it count.

This very week in 2007, I flew to France to live and study in Paris with a group of Columbia undergrads for the spring semester (and then stayed for most of the summer).  It was a great experience, though hindsight is always rosy, and I learned a lot - about the French people and culture, about medieval history, about art and architecture and music, and, of course, about life and love.  Many of the kids on my program went to a different city in Europe every weekend, but I totally got into life in Paris.  I sang at the American Cathedral near the Champs Elysée, tutored half a dozen French children and two adults in English, and dated a British boy who was working there on his gap year.  Okay, those things aren't too Parisian - but I definitely put down roots.  And, because of that, it was the first time I truly experienced culture shock!

So, in honor of having moved to Paris for seven months six years ago, here are a few of my favorites from The Time I Studied Abroad.

WHEN EVERYONE POSTS PICTURES
OF THEIR THANKSGIVING FEASTS

WHEN I GET TO THE TOP OF
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TOWER

WHEN THE WAITER ASKS IF
WE'D LIKE WINE WITH OUR MEAL


WHEN I SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FOR THE FIRST TIME

WHEN MY FRIENDS AND I SEE A GROUP OF OBNOXIOUS AMERICAN GIRLS 
How about you, dear readers - did you study abroad?  Which of the .gifs made you nod and smile and say, "Yup, been there!"

40 comments:

  1. I spent a summer going to school in Quebec City before heading into my last year of high school. There are French language learning bursaries in Canada which I heard about through a friend of a friend and it was probably one of the best times of my life - mostly because it taught me that I could survive on my own. I didn't know one single, other person and everything had to be done in French. It led me to take chances with my university choice and most certainly with the decision to move abroad later in life. I wish I had pursued other overseas opportunities while in university - hindsight ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never studied abroad; I was going to but I decided graduating early was more important. But this did get me excited because my sister and I are going to Paris when she comes here! The public transport made me laugh; I really hope she doesn't have high expectations for me knowing my way around! I'm pretty useless!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I studied in the Netherlands and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It's such a fantastic city and I still miss it!

    Plus, this gif pretty much sums up my time there: http://thetimeistudiedabroad.tumblr.com/post/25534308678/when-i-drink-the-2-euro-wine

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Thanksgiving picture totally got me! I was in Australia for a semester during Thanksgiving and talked to my parents while everyone was sitting down to eat. I got off the phone an bawled, which is funny, because I'd missed Thanksgivings before and since that, but I think being SO far away compounded it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I almost did a summer study abroad trip to Greece, but I never went through with it. I wish I did though!

    ReplyDelete
  6. you always inspire me to travel abroad. i have - sadly - never been outside of the united states, but i am hoping to change that soon. i would really love to visit paris or rome... i still haven't decided which one will come first.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'll be studying abroad this summer for 5 weeks in Rome, and I couldn't be more excited.
    xo, Maria

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is too funny!! I really wish that I had done a study abroad program.


    Jayme @ Her Late Night Cravings

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rebecca @ Discovering DelightJanuary 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I studied abroad last semester and That Time I Studied Abroad kept me laughing the whole time. The longer I was in France, the more relatable each one became.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am SO MAD at my parents for not having sent me to a lycée when I was younger - I'd kill to be bilingual! sounds like you make the most of your opportunity :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Paris is GORGEOUS! you'll have the most amazing time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. haha YES. in the first draft of this post, almost every .gif I copied had to do with drinking...

    ReplyDelete
  13. exactly! I've been abroad for one - for the weekend of Thansgiving, I went to Barcelona with my parents for the weekend to see my sister, who was studying there (I was in London at the time so it wasn't far) and I didn't feel bad about not being in DC. but on the day itself, I had a Thanksgiving meal with the American family I babysat for and afterwards I bawled my eyes out! all about the situation, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  14. you can still study abroad! there's no rule saying you have to be a college student to do it :) go!

    ReplyDelete
  15. oh lucky you - Rome is amazing! I've only been briefly - I'll have to live through you for the 5 weeks :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. haha I know - it was hard to choose only five to publish here! the longer you're in another country, the harder it is to relate to Americans fresh off the boat...

    ReplyDelete
  17. I WISH I had studied abroad! Seriously, I regret it every day!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I studied abroad in Bath, England the second semester of my Sophomore year. I can relate to many of the pics you posted but luckily I was there in the spring and did not miss Thanksgiving. I have a great aunt that was living near Cambridge and spent Easter with her which was a wonderful experience. I loved my time England, and bawled my eyes out when it was time to go home. I wanted to go back and work abroad but my life took me in a different direction. My husband and I make travel a priority and use our 5 weeks of vacation to the fullest!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my god, the last one - I always think, "dumb American tourists" and then feel stupid, since I'm an American kind-of tourist.

    I think it's different because all my friends live in New Orleans, but king cake season started and it's all over Facebook! Definitely homesick. Thanksgiving, though, we recreated here, turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and all!

    http://lasaloperie.blogspot.com.br/

    ReplyDelete
  20. thinking about my time spent studying abroad makes me so sad - partly because I feel like I didn't have the opportunity to utilize it as best I could, and also partly because I could only spare a summer in place of a full semester. granted, I technically studied abroad twice [once in the Bahamas for a week, once in France], but still. wallowing aside, my two months in Antibes were probably the greatest experience of my life thus far. and now I'm stuck with the everyday desire to be back in France...which kind of sucks. Alabama is worlds away from Europe [in every possible way].

    ReplyDelete
  21. These are too funny! I studied abroad in Glasgow so don't relate to the language ones as much but have to admit, number 3 is still me! And maybe the last one as well, haha. It's funny seeing other Americans abroad.

    ReplyDelete
  22. there's still time! I'm sure you can find a week-long course for adults somewhere exciting :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. haha amen to your first sentence! social media can definitely make the missing more severe, though, because it doesn't let you ignore the fact that you're not there :(

    ReplyDelete
  24. oh no don't feel sad! getting to spend a summer elsewhere is an amazing experience - and "utilize it the best you can" is totally personal. the girls on my program who traveled every weekend probably thought I was missing out for staying in Paris!

    ReplyDelete
  25. wait, you mean they speak English in Glasgow? hehe :) someone told me a story about how Siri (on the British iPhones) can't understand strong Scottish accents!

    ReplyDelete
  26. DEFINITELY the last gif. I still do that regularly here...

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love Michelle Tanner and wine so I'd have to go with the third one. This post is hilarious! Cool idea.

    ReplyDelete
  28. bahahah I love this. Particularly the last two. I had those exact feelings when I studied abroad!

    ReplyDelete
  29. So I'm not abroad, but I just moved to the midwest from Louisiana and the king cake pictures! They're killing me!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I looked at the whole blog yesterday! Seriously, the whole thing! But in fairness I have a chest infection so I wasn't doing anything but laying about anyway.
    While I've never studied abroad, I could still relate to so many of them from my first couple of years in Europe. I was laughing my tookus off (and then I'd cough, and laugh, cough, and laugh... )

    ReplyDelete
  31. oh man. I KNOW - I get so annoyed with Americans in London. Jon's like, "you know you are one, right?" NOT LIKE THAT I'M NOT.

    ReplyDelete
  32. haha there are tons o' wine ones! I was tempted to copy them all here...

    ReplyDelete
  33. haha yes - and with the public transportation one, you have to be careful to not actually should that aloud in the metro!

    ReplyDelete
  34. oh no! I should have warned you to look only when you were feeling better :( but I'm glad it made you happy in your illness!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those were the two hardest holidays for me to miss, because they are so important to my family. Also: I did a dance on Boulevard Nouvelle the first time that I successfully got to school--I had to take three separate trains--and I got there early. Amazing. It only happened that once.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Bwahaha! How did I just now read this one? I totally felt the same way at Thanksgiving when I studied in Scotland! But thankfully, my mom came over to spend it with me - after I got out of class, that is.

    ReplyDelete
  37. 1. Just found your blog and am loving it.
    2. I studied abroad at Oxford two falls ago and had the best time of my life so far, but your top .gif about missing Thanksgiving is so. true. Thursday morning I woke up and was so busy with schoolwork that I temporarily forgot it was Thanksgiving, and then I remembered and had the most depressing day. I probably cried 3 times thinking of my family getting together, while I was writing a 15-page paper on predestination in a Starbucks in Headington.
    3. Here's my blog from that semester if you're interested :) emilyschubert.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. YAY HELLO WELCOME! am three post into your blog and it sounds like you did something similar to what I did? except I wasn't at Oxford :P


    and I have spent four Christmases in England WITH ENGLISH FAMILIES and I am still confused my mince pies.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Haha oh wow! Good to know I'm not alone in my mince-pie-confusion, then!

    And Christmastime in England was just about the most magical thing ever. That's awesome that you've spent four Christmases there!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.