I have been back from France for about two weeks now and the transition has been a little difficult. It was hard to pack, study for finals, and say bye to the friends I grew so close with over the 4 month period. I felt as if I was just getting used to living in France when I left. As soon as I landed in San Francisco I was reminiscent of hearing people speaking in French.
It was not only difficult to leave, but also being back home. The time change was rough and so was getting back into my American life. I had feelings of sadness and still think back to cultural values France has that I wish were in the States. For example, I miss the restaurant culture and being able to walk everywhere. I loved how I could practice and better my French everywhere I went. I missed the unfamiliarity of it all. Being home caused me to take a step back and truly reflect on the best experience of my life. I was able to travel to so many places for cheap, find something new to love, and meet new people from everywhere. Being back to the states, I was almost upset about how comfortable and easy my life had suddenly become. Everyone speaks English and is overly kind, this is very different from France. Besides this, I also now have an appreciation for the States. There were certain values and lifestyles that differed from what I enjoyed in the U.S. In the States, I actually do enjoy how kind and willing to help civilians are. The culture of how to treat strangers is very different from France. Also, I enjoy the values of individuality. In France, you are French before anything else. In the U.S. there is more freedom in creating who you want to be and represent.
Although upset upon returning, I think I am readjusting well. By having friends and family consistently around and distracting me, it is easier to get back into my old routines and life. Studying in France changed my life in so many ways. Being able to go outside of my comfort zone like that was beneficial for my future and who I am today. It has even made me consider different routes for my continuation of education. I could do grad school in Europe or take a gap year teaching English in a French-speaking country. The possibilities are endless and going abroad helped me realize this.
I am glad to have been given this opportunity. I would not have changed a second of it. I am more excited than ever for my future and can not wait to be out of my comfort zone again. I will miss my experience in France but I also now have a new appreciation for the States. Going back to Linfield will be quite the transition, but I can not wait to see all my friends and be at my favorite school!