Home France Adjusting to Life Abroad: Culture Shock in Cannes

Adjusting to Life Abroad: Culture Shock in Cannes

by Autumn Cooper

Coming to Cannes, France for a semester abroad has completely opened my eyes to a whole new world, an entirely new outlook on life, and has made me go about my everyday life in a new and exciting way.

At my home university in Tiffin, Ohio, to say I am an over-involved student is an understatement. I serve as a Resident Assistant in my residence hall, pick up shifts as a Student Ambassador in between classes, and wake up at 6 AM for dance practice every day. Needless to say, I typically push the limit while being a full-time student, taking a full load of classes to stay on track with my major in order to graduate on time.

Before departing from the United States, I realized I was not prepared to leave my crutch, my comfort zone that I have been so used to through my entire collegiate career. Getting through customs and connecting flights in Paris was extremely emotional for me, but I am grateful I made it safely, with no complications or lost luggage.

Since arriving in Cannes, it has been a difficult adjustment for me. I have more downtime than usual, which is a challenge. I sometimes feel confused and anxious for the next event or class to attend. It has been a major adjustment to adapt to a new culture, as well as a brand new campus.

It’s been quite helpful to have help and support in Cannes in the form of a buddy from my home university. Junior Monroe has been supportive through every uncomfortable interaction, every trip to our school’s cafeteria, and while venturing out and navigating the French world beyond Campus International de Cannes.

I have been taking each day with the utmost respect and appreciation, trying to find “comfort” and clarity my new everyday routine. I try to find similarities between the routine of a college student in the United States as compared to one in France.

Regardless of the setbacks I have encountered, I have absolutely no regrets.

Diving into the unknown and going with the flow of a new culture is exhilarating. It has already taught me so much about myself and much of what I’ve learned is nearly unexplainable in words.

I recently read a saying on a shirt here in Cannes that said, “Take a chance for creativity, be bigger.” I have been applying this phrase to everything new I try and all the new feelings I encounter abroad.

This post was contributed by Autumn Cooper, a student from Tiffin University who is spending her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Cannes, France. 

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