Ready or not, I’m here

Danielle Limon is a freshman studying journalism. She is traveling and studying in Avignon, France during Spring Quarter. Interested in her journeys? Follow them and and follow her Twitter, @daniellelimon.

So, after 3 months of preparation, 4 days of packing, an 8-hour plane ride, a 3-hour train ride and a 5-block walk to a hotel, I finally arrived in Avignon, France.

It’s gone a lot better than expected, in some aspects. I actually understand what most people are saying to me, which was extremely unexpected, and I like my host mom and the transition to living with her and two other girls from our group is going pretty well.

But there’s a lot that goes into being dropped in the middle of a foreign country and there are certain things I wish I would have known/listened to/thought of:

  • I should have listened and actually brought more DVDs
  • The “suggestion” that bringing your dictionary is a good idea actually a requirement
  • Packing nail polish would’ve been a good idea after all
  • I should have brought a book in Spanish.

But overall, I would say that yes, I was prepared for this trip.  That’s not to say that it’s been easy, no, not by any means.  For the first week I was, and still kind of am, exhausted.  Not only am I walking more every day, I’m spending most of my energy trying to constantly speak and think in French.

So overall, I guess you could say that so far, it’s been worth the struggle.  If you’re thinking of studying abroad, here are the real questions to ask yourself.

  • Am I okay with traveling for hours?
  • Am I really ready to leave my friends and family for that long?
  • Do I know what I really have to gain from this experience? (This one was my deal breaker – I could gain everything)
  • Will it make me happy?
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