Journey to France

 

This past summer, I went on a six-week study abroad adventure in France, along with seventeen other Lakers and two professors from French language department. In short, this was the best decision I made in 2016, not only because I had yummy escargots there, but new ways of thinking I gained during the trip.

 

Before our weekend trip to a French commune called Annot, we ran into two Lakers who were backpacking around Europe. The selfie above was taken two hours after we randomly decided to go beyond our hiking plan. We took it on the mountain peak. If I had to say something about this picture to “fancy it up”, I would say that we are not always prepared for what is ahead of us, the only thing we can do is to keep climbing and never give up. Your body might be aching but you know it’s worth it because the view up on the top is absolute astonishing.

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It’s hard to talk about my study abroad trip without talking about the Nice terror attack that took place after Bastille Day celebration. I went back to the scene one week after the attack. By that time flowers and candles that people brought to show their respect and prayers covered the promenade for a mile. It was my only bad memory from the entire trip, yet I don’t believe this should discourage me or anyone else from exploring the world. Especially after seeing that people from all over the world were working together to reestablish the faith and I was honored to be one of them.

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Our one-day trip to the Louvre museum was like an Apparition class, only in an artistic Muggle world. From ancient Mesopotamia to Bourbon Empire, from Egyptian myths to the Age of Exploration, I was amazed by the collections in this museum even though I am not a super “artsy” person. We say that it takes three generations to produce an artist, then I guess the Louvre has the ultimate ability to freeze time. If you would like to have a little fun of your own and challenge some awesome poses like my friend and I did, this is the place you want to be.

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My host mom in Paris had to leave early for work the day I left France, so she left me a great breakfast and a note. I enjoyed the week staying with her and we still send out postcards to each other. The program may end very fast, but the connections you make will never go away.

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And last but not least, greetings from the Eiffel Tour at 12:30 am!

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I guess, for me, the most attractive part of studying abroad is that you never know what to expect. My friend thought I would be “the experienced one” in the group since I had been doing it for years, but no. There are always surprises and new perspectives no matter how much you prepare. I love the moment when something doesn’t make sense to me and then it suddenly does because I am able to look at in another way. If I had another chance, I would definitely go on another adventure and enrich my “study abroad combo”. So keep calm and study abroad!

 

Written by Ruixuan Ran. Ruixuan Ran is an international student from China, currently a junior at Grand Valley State University majoring in accounting and international business and minoring in French. This past summer, she participated in a faculty-led study abroad program in Nice, France for six weeks.

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