It is my final day in France today, and the tears have not stopped flowing. I didn’t realize when I first arrived how much my life would change during the short duration of six weeks here.
My french has definitely improved a ton. I can understand people’s conversations as they walk past in the streets. I can talk to shop vendors and get my point across. It’s so amazing how effortless the small things become. I am in no way fluent yet, but I am three steps closer than I was before arriving in Nantes.
I managed to pass my art history class as well! This class was definitely a struggle for me since it was a hard class for art history majors and it was taught in french-a language I am still working to improve everyday. Not only did I pass the class, but I managed to get an A- in it! This is such a fantastic feat for me since I worked very hard everyday in that class to make sure I was doing the best I was able to on every homework assignment and test.
And along with my academic and professional goal, I have also improved my personal goal of being able to connect and communicate with native born french speakers. I made several french friends while abroad, and nothing will help you learn the language more than a friend who you can talk to without being afraid that they will make fun of the errors you make. All my new friends are incredible and I am very sad that I have to leave them behind.
I am also going to miss my house and host family a ton. My host family became a second family to me. I love my younger siblings, I love the older siblings, I love my host mom and dad, I love my dog (it’s weird to think that the dogs here understand french too!), and I am going to miss the beautiful house in the center of Nantes. My host family had been so supportive of my speaking. The children always took the time to speak slow and repeat themselves so that I would understand what they were saying. The parents had long conversations with me so that I could practice my conversation skills. I could not have asked for a better family.
I am going to miss my commute to school every morning. While I would definitely prefer to not wake up at 7am everyday, the scenery made it worth while. Everything about Nantes is beautiful. The trees, the sidewalks, the buildings, everything is so spectacular that even if I have to wake up at 7am every day to see it, it is worth it.
And lastly, I am going to miss the whole city. I love taking the tram to discover the different areas and finding new places to explore. It was so easy and convenient to use, it really made travelling a breeze. But I didn’t take it too often because I loved just walking around and getting to know the streets and all the shops around them. At Pitt, I take the Port Authority everywhere, which can have its ups and downs. The tram is much the same, but much similar because it only runs on one track, so you always know where it is going. The only inconvenient thing that I didn’t like about the tram was that you had to pay attention to the schedule because on specific days there would be mass protests that would block the tracks and delay the trains.
To future students considering studying abroad, and specifically in Nantes/France. Do. It. It will literally be the best thing to ever happen to you in your life. It will change you in so many ways that you won’t want to come home (I would stay here forever if I could). Don’t let anything hold you back if this is what you want to do. I recommend Pitt in Nantes one-thousand times over and I will for the rest of my life.
Adieu, Nantes. I hope that I get to see you again soon.