Featured image: Alfred Essa
Are you pondering study abroad? Are you currently out there? Did you just come back and you miss it already?
I’ll go ahead and reveal my age when I admit that it’s been 10 years since my year in Toulouse, France. The experiences I had studying abroad affected me so profoundly that I wrote a book about it. Really. And whether you’re considering taking the plunge or nostalgic for that special time in your life, I’d like to share my experience with you in my book Pas Possible: Falling in and out of Love with France*.
Admittedly, my decision to attend a university in a foreign country didn’t come out of nowhere. My grandparents are native French speakers. Hearing this foreign language greatly piqued my interest starting at a young age, which prompted me to take French in high school. My experience staying with a friendly host family in northern France for a few weeks during my senior year ensured cupid’s arrow went straight through my heart. I had fallen head over heels in love with France. In college at UC Irvine, I had known since the beginning of my freshman year that I would spend my junior year abroad. I was sure, yet I had no idea what was actually in store for me.
When I arrived in Toulouse: la ville rose, or “the pink city,” I had no need for rose-colored glasses. I already had hearts in my eyes. I won’t tell you exactly what happens in the book, but I will tell you this: yes, I fulfilled requirements towards my major and minor. Yes, I made friends from France, Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Canada and many more countries. Yes, I traveled all over France, Scotland, Ireland and Spain. Yes, I had frustrating experiences that made me want to scream. Yes, I missed my family and friends. And yes, it was the most enriching experience of my life.
On top of fulfilling graduation requirements, improving a foreign language, and giving you the chance to travel to foreign countries and meet people from all over the world, studying abroad teaches you resilience, open-mindedness, and the ability to cope with difficult or confusing situations in a perpetually globalizing world. I can guarantee that you won’t have these experiences at any other time of your life. That’s why I worked at my university’s study abroad office for 3 years after I came back. That’s why I went back to France to live again. That’s why I became a French teacher, and that’s why I wrote this book.
If you’re interested in going on my French adventure, you can purchase the book or read more about it here. For a limited time (from December 16-18), Pas Possible: Falling in and out of Love with France will be part of Kindle Countdown Deals- get your copy today!
*The book’s title, Pas Possible means “not possible” in French. It is a favorite expression of French people and especially Parisians to deny a request or something’s existence.