Just one of many picnics at the Eiffel Tower!
Before leaving the states for my study abroad in France, my number one concern was meeting people. Who would be living with me? Would there be someone who would want to explore the city with me? What would my friends be like? Would others in the program be interested in traveling? These are the type of questions I asked myself before I started college, but this time the stakes were much higher since I would be living in a foreign country.
However, everything I read about study abroad and everyone I talked to who had completed programs always raved about the amazing friendships they had made during their experience. Would this be the same for me?
From my arrival in London for our orientation stopover, I instantly liked the group of AIFS students in my program. We all came from different places and had very different personalities, but we were immediately connected by this amazing adventure we were about to share. It is strange for me now to look back at these first couple days when we were all still getting to know each other.
Right from the get-go we bonded, and not just because we were all in the same program, but because we all suddenly found ourselves in a foreign country, and had to use teamwork and resourcefulness to find our way around. I have a distinct memory of being in London with eight of us huddled around a map trying to make sense of the tour bus routes. Everyone was to willing to work together and to be patient as we all acclimated to being in a new place.
Since our first days in London, our friendship has only gotten stronger. We have shared so many amazing memories together, and have forged a bond by being on this crazy adventure together.
Each person brings something unique, and while our personalities don’t always match, at the end of the day we are family. During our last week together we all gathered to go out to dinner, and after we had stuffed ourselves full of the amazing food Paris is known for, we went around the table and said something we would miss about each person. While I am aware this is rather cheesy, the waterworks were definitely flowing and it is a memory that I will always hold dear.
I know I would be lost without this crazy group of friends I made during my time in Paris. This experience would be nothing without the amazing people I shared it with. As we all say goodbye to Paris and goodbye to each other, I know that my study abroad friends will be friends that I will have my entire life.
To students getting ready to depart for their adventure abroad who might be worried about making friends, I offer some advice to you: keep an open mind and be willing to meet people who are different than you; it will be rewarding beyond what you can imagine!
Thank you to all of you who went on this crazy journey with me!