Normally when I think about France I think of Paris, escargots, the Eifel tower and the talking candle from Beauty and the Beast. Pretty stereotypical huh? I know. But at least it’s the honest truth! I have never been into the hype of France. I have never believed that Paris was the city of love and I have always thought French was not as beautiful as people make it out to be simply because others have not convinced me. France and all things French seemed like a big exaggeration and a trend. And to be quite frankly, I never liked trends.
So when I got to college and somehow became a foreign language major, studying Spanish, French, and Arabic, I never thought I would end up going to France. And since I was going there, I surely wasn’t going to Paris and fall into the American love affair with all things French. As I commenced my search for the perfect place in France, I wanted to go somewhere that was beautiful aesthetically as well as culturally. I also wanted to be somewhere that was nothing like where I live and grew up. Sure enough, a man from AIFS was at my school with books full of different places I could go and the picture that caught my eye was one of the docks of Cannes, with all of these boats and a feel that said “I am modern, but history still lives here.” Of all of the places and things I’ve heard about in France, I never heard much about Cannes but from the look of it, I was convinced that I would be the one to discover what this beautiful city was all about.
Understand that my choice to go to France rested on a few different things. As a foreign language major it is required of me to study abroad per language. My love of language has been so deeply embedded in me that I decided that I would study language in their motherland. Not to downplay any other francophone country, I simply wanted to learn the language on the same land of those who created it so that my knowledge of the language would be special. I will never be a native speaker but I’d like to be somewhat of a step-child to the language- not necessarily one of its own, but embraced like one. I also chose France due to the location of where I currently live. As a New Jersey native, Canada is roughly the distance of Florida, a trip I can take at any point in my life. But Europe? Well I can’t quite say I’d have this opportunity again, being this young and it being this beneficial to my life. Studying in France at this point in my life will give me credibility academically, emotionally, and mentally that I’m not sure will do the same in the future.
From this experience, I hope to gain a better perspective of France, the language and its people. The idea that I have right now is somewhat pessimistic and a little weary but from what I’ve researched so far about Cannes, is that I will enjoy it more than I will ever be able to imagine. Of course, my main goal is to return to the states speaking French with a decent level of fluency but I also hope to gain a cultural perspective that I never had before. I want to be a well rounded global citizen and be an advocate for Women, Americans, and most importantly, minorities around the world. In order to reach the masses, one must understand them. So I hope that by immersing myself in a culture, observing, and absorbing their culture will help me to appreciate and better understand how to advocate for my own. I hope you all are ready to go on this journey with me!