Hey guys! This is my first time posting an entry on this site. I actually have my own blog through blogger.com , where I post semi-regularly. Here's a link: http://frenchfrieezz.blogspot.fr/

Anyway, since I just joined the Aggie Abroad Network, I thought it might be cool to add a blog on here too! I know it's a little late since I only have about a month left, but here it goes.

It's difficult to reflect back on all the experiences I've had during this year; it's even more of a challenge to write it all in a blog. But after almost 8 months of living in Bordeaux, I've found that I have a pretty regular routine and rhythm here. In the beginning, everything was a new adventure. During the week I would battle the seemingly-impossible feat of figuring out French university classes (and to this day I am still utterly confused), and each weekend was a new adventure of discovering this beautiful city. Don't get me wrong- I still wake up every day and am amazed by the fact I am living in France- but by now, I have gotten used to life here and I feel slightly more comfortable being in this lifestyle.

It's cool to see how much things have changed comparing from when I first got here until now. I've developed almost a second life here. I have French friends, connections, a French apartment, I can speak the language- whereas in the beginning, I felt like an alien beaming down from planet America. It has been quite the journey but I feel like I finally fit in with the French culture. This fact alone conjures very mixed feelings about returning home, which is in about a month. On one hand I'm very excited about going back to California and returning to the life I left behind. And I'm stoked to be back on the beautiful Davis campus, of course! But on the other hand, leaving Bordeaux will be one of the hardest things I'll have to face. Guess I just have to enjoy every moment I have left here and live in the present!

I have officially finished classes for the year and I'm anxiously awaiting the near future.  My 2 best friends from California are coming to France! We will be traveling for a couple of weeks and then going home together. Our itinerary: Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Portugal, Bordeaux, back to Paris, then California! It will be nice to have them there for some support, and to calm my nerves about going back. If any of you out there reading this are alumni of any travel abroad program, any advice/stories on how it was returning to America? I am curious to see how the whole reverse-culture shock thing works. Hopefully it will be a somewhat-smooth transition! Mainly, I am just grateful I had this opportunity to study abroad and I'm looking forward to bringing back my newly-gained wisdom and Frenchy-ness back home :)

Well, I think I'll wrap it up for now. I think it's great that EAP at Davis created this site for all of us to share our adventures, thoughts, photos and general experiences. So voilà- here is my small but heartfelt first post!

A bientôt mes amis!

-Lauren

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Comment by Kerri Engelder on October 8, 2012 at 11:29am

That sounds like such a great experience! While I was reading your post, I kept flashing back to my time spent abroad in Europe. I had the same mixed feelings as you... I was so excited to be back in California, but at the same time, I knew that I would miss my friends/families in Italy so much. It sounds like you made the most of your time abroad and had a fantastic adventure. I am sure you'll be back in France again soon! :)

Comment by Erin Golackson on October 3, 2012 at 3:44pm

Great post! I studied in France last fall semester, but I really wish that I could have stayed the whole year.
I know that thing we call "reverse culture shock" can be really frustrating and weird, but I hope that your transition back has been at least as smooth as it can be!

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