I decided to study abroad a long time ago while my mom was working at the international house in the University of Tennessee. I fell in love with learning about other people and cultures, so I knew for many years that I would study abroad in college. I decided to study abroad through ISEP in Montpellier, France because I have been taking French classes since high school and I love the language. Being in the south of France in a smaller city meant I got to explore the city more in depth than if I had gone to Paris.
I also got to spend the summer in Greece with my partner who is Greek. I highly recommend a host family because of this experience, you get to learn so much more from them than if you're living on your own.
The best thing about studying abroad is the people you meet, even the ones from back home. It’s so much fun being an English speaker in a non-English-speaking country because it immediately draws attention to you, I met so many people from different places and had so many conversations just because people heard me speaking English. It’s also great in Europe because you get to travel to other countries, and it isn’t too expensive. The hardest part of moving is going to the grocery store, not only is navigating stores difficult, but you often can’t find the foods you want or ingredients you need. This can be especially frustrating when you’re homesick and want to make foods from home.
If you want to study abroad, make sure to do your research into what program is the best fit for you. Be prepared to be very stressed the semester before going abroad, it can be very nerve-racking to get everything in order and meet their deadlines. Make sure you study the cultural differences and forms of politeness in your host country, this will help you ease culture shock. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, a support system is crucial in your host country, meeting other students who are studying abroad or who are international students is important for your wellbeing since you’re all in the same boat. Also, take as many pictures as possible! I was horrible about this, so don’t make my mistake!