Dear August 25th, 2022 me, you will come to learn many things about yourself and the bits of the world you’ve been able to see by the time you get to where I am now writing this. My growth may not be exactly measurable by the eye, but rather by my own self beginning to see small changes about myself or how I perceive others and situations I am in. For me, the greatest way in which we have grown is through our independence and our enjoyment in being alone. I don’t believe I would have ever considered myself remotely close to an introvert before now. Not that I have become one, but I have just began to notice how enjoyable it can be to experience things yourself and formulate opinions and feelings entirely based on your own response to them. I feel that it may be atypical for someone to go abroad and find out they are introverted, I might in fact assume the usual case to be the opposite. But, I am glad we have come to find this out about ourselves, because I think it has pushed me ahead in how I respond to things, and to take time for myself when I feel like I need to.
I wish that before I had come I would have leveled my expectations, and not expected perfection at every corner. Since being here, I have come to realize that Europe is not just this paradise of generous people and sunny skies, in fact it is quite similar to the US. Of course walking through metropolitan Rome one moment and then ancient ruins the next certainly puts a bit of difference between the two; the people and the problems still remain extremely similar. I found that at the beginning of my study abroad, I was disappointed with how difficult it was to adjust and how much goes into being a student in another country. I have learned to cope with these realities and can now enjoy myself and my time so much more, but I wish I would have come here without expectations to fulfill.
For me the most surprising thing thus far about my study abroad experience is just how different the education and the importance around it is in France, or at least at Kedge. Although you have got students who are there to work and progress their education, for the most part I felt it was more of a social pool of events, parties and talking over teachers. As much as I am grateful for my experience at a school in France, it reminds me how grateful I truly am for an education based in the US which challenges me and is taken more seriously by the students and faculty.