33 Things I’ve Learned From Studying Abroad

Hi everyone! I wanted to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained this semester with you, so I created this lovely list. Some of these things apply to France, Europe, or studying abroad in general. Enjoy!

1. If I talk really fast and add the word/sound “ba” occasionally in my phrases I can almost sound like a native French speaker. Almost.

2. Celebrities are a much bigger deal in the U.S. than in France. The same goes for the Olympics.

3. The US dollar/euro conversion rate is painful for my head and my wallet.

4. French people don’t drink a lot of water.

5. Public transportation is a godsend.

7. Public transportation is a nightmare.

8. Trying and failing in French is better than not trying at all and speaking English.

9. French bread is hands down the best bread in the world.

10. The “p” in the name “Baptiste” is silent.

11. Family, politics and religion are off-limits in the work place and casual conversation. Around the dinner table, anything goes.

12. Speaking of dinner tables, French people actually use theirs.

13. French phramacies are full of wonderful, cheap beauty products.

14. Escargot is delicious.

15. French students talk loudly and constantly in class.

16. A surprising number of people think Chicago is in Michigan.

17. The local university is only for taking classes. School spirit and clubs are virtually non-existant.

18. How I Met Your Mother might be the most popular American show in France.

19. You’re never fully dressed without a scarf.

20. Speaking only one language is not normal.

21. Paris is truly magical.

22. Not every European has liberal political views. The West of France is well known for being conservative.

23. Attending mass each week in a 1000 year-old church is as normal as going to the farmer’s market.

24. Some showers don’t have a shower curtain or sliding door.

25. WiFi is faster in the US.

26. Despite the exclusiveness and ticket-only entry of Paris Fashion Week, it is possible to attend a show (or 6).

27. French is anything but a dying language.

28. Driver’s Education in France is more expensive and time-consuming than in the US.

29. The free newspapers given out at tram stops in the morning are good for keeping up on current events and playing sudoku.

30. Political correctness has not yet made its way here.

31. Sadly, neither has Jif peanut butter.

32.The vast majority of people are kind and willing to offer help when needed.

33. Study abroad is life-changing.

Published by Rachael Kabagabu

Hi everyone! My name is Rachael Kabagabu. I am a junior studying secondary education with a major in French and minor in biology. I am currently involved in Nykerk, Hope College Student Ambassadors, WTHS (Hope radio station), and the Kappa Beta Phi Sorority. My previous activities include Orientation, leading a spring break immersion trip, the Black Student Union, and orchestra. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Go Hope!

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