Reflections on my year abroad

student blogger KhadijaIt was almost 12 months ago that I set off for my study abroad adventure in Strasbourg. I have grown a lot since going to France, in so many ways. I am so glad that I did my year abroad.

Here are a few of the things that I learned along the way:

  1. To speak French
    Before I moved to Strasbourg, I had never spoken French with a genuine French person that wasn’t my French teacher. As you can imagine I was slightly shy about speaking French, but now I can understand, read and write French, and if I force myself, I can speak it too!
  2. About myself
    I went away and I changed. My time abroad has taught me about what I want and I made some great friends. The downside of this experience is now I want my depth from my friendships at home like I experienced in France. I want to be able to continue discussing politics and our purpose on earth. I want to discuss real things, not just who is dating who. I mean, I don’t mind discussing that too, but my friendships in France have taught me that that shouldn’t be all we discuss.
  3. Confidence and independence
    Since returning home, a lot of people have noticed that I’m more confident now. After living in a foreign country by yourself, having to open a bank account in a language you barely speak, your confidence definitely grows. The more time I spent abroad, the more I realised that studying was only one part of it. Dealing with real life situations, such as having to visit a doctor was a real test of survival, and I survived!
  4. About the French monarchy
    I always remember things in England to do with my degree, for example I can go to the History Museum in London and recall details about World War Two, however I didn’t think I’d be able to do that with the French monarchy. I was very proud of myself that after just the first semester in Strasbourg I was able to visit the Museum of Lorraine in Nancy and spend two hours discussing French kings and their various laws and edicts with my friend.
  5. How to make a dream come true
    It has always been my dream to do a wine tour in France, and I was finally able to do it one Saturday in March. The Erasmus Society organised a trip for about 90 of us and we took a tour of a wine cave and learnt about the process of making wine. Then the fun began! We were taken to a huge dining room with mini wine glasses on each table. I don’t remember the specifics of the wines because I am not a wine expert, but the wines tasted amazing. It was literally two and a half hours of tasting good wine and making new friends. That was exactly why I chose to study abroad, to have cultural experiences, meet new people and have fun.

You can read more about Khadija's time in France and her life since returning home on her student blog.