Skip to main content

Let's talk about France!


It was a privilege that I was given the opportunity to travel abroad and I couldn’t have done this without my family, the Bredon family, and Andeo. Sitting here, typing this, it still seems unreal that I was able to embark on a journey so unforgettable. Everyone wants to know how my trip was, what I did, what I ate, where I went, how I slept and to be honest, I could go on and on for hours talking about everything. For the times where I don’t have hours to ramble on about eating croissants under La Tour Eiffel, sunbathing in Aix en Provence, or picking fresh haricot verts from a garden in Normandie, I tend to shorten my experience to this recap: My trip was full of unreal adventures, mysterious foods, new relationships, growth in the French language, and confidence in my independence. But…since you have some time to read my post, let me elaborate.



To start our conversation, let’s imagine you and me are sitting on the streets of Paris, indulging in a fresh quiche lorraine with an ice cold Orangina in a small cafe. Only a street away from the Seine and surrounded in the hustle and bustle of small cars speeding by, busy businessman and woman taking lunch breaks, and of course...the infamous crowds of tourists. Here’s where I tell you that this is only one of the many adventures I was able to experience. To continue, I had incredible opportunities to see places like the Notre-Dame de Paris, Pyramide du Louvre, Pont Saint Michel, Panthéon, Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Colonne de Juillet, and so much more. My host family introduced me to every corner of Paris, the heat of the South of France, and the WWII history of Normandie.  I experienced everyday adventures like travelling on the hot metro, grocery shopping in Saturday markets, watching French news and movies and one of the most awkward things, trying to eat breakfast lunch and dinner with a fork and knife.

On the topic of food, let me share some of my first time (not so favorite) tastings including, steak tartare, Carpaccio, Octopus pasta salad, ham and cantaloupe, raw salmon oysters, crab, camembert, and one of the weirdest: bow-tie noodles and ketchup. Don’t let me forget to tell you some of my favorites, and these might make you drool. I had French crepes, almond cakes, fresh macaroons, apple tartes, homemade ravioli, French bread, croissants, yogurt, delicious fruit, ice cream, and I could go on forever. Food was one of the biggest differences I noticed during my travels, breakfast was always cereal, bread, jam and tea, lunch was BIG and had multiple courses to it, and dinner was eaten so late and took a long time. Despite the differences, I enjoyed spending time talking and laughing, and eating cheese.



Spending time with the Bredons was my favorite part of the trip. I was nervous at first because I felt a huge language barrier, but as the weeks passed, and my French improved, we just got closer. Gabrielle (my French “sister”) and I would stay up late laughing almost to tears, her mother and I liked to talk about the differences of America and France, and her father and I would crack jokes back and forth at each other. The best part about speaking was that her family was patient and forgiving when I made mistakes. Having Gabrielle as my French exchange student twice and now me as her American exchange student has developed the most amazing international friendship and I could have never asked for a better one. Travelling abroad opened my eyes to finding my own independence. I was challenged and provided the opportunity of a lifetime to step out of the comforts of home and engage in a culture far different   than mine. The connection with the Bredons will continue to grow, the memories I have made will never fade and I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!


Okay now imagine we have finished our lunch, sightseeing, and shopping. What’s our go to move? Five words… always celebrate with Ice Cream!

For more information about our immersion programs in France check out these pages!
Group trip to France
Summer in France 
Summer in Tours
Semester or year in France

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to Write a Letter to Your Host Family

The letter to your host family is one of the most important pieces of your program abroad application; it’s the host family’s first impression of you. Exchange programs take many factors into account when matching you with a host family, but ultimately it’s up to the host family to decide whether to host you or not.

Here are a few helpful tips to writing a great letter to your future host family:

Use a positive tone. “The main reason a student’s dossier is passed over by families is unintentional negativity,” explains Rebecca Gundle, Program Coordinator for ANDEO International Homestays. A student might be trying to explain her preferences, but when she devotes equal attention to describing her dislikes, she comes across as negative or picky. A family wants to know that the student they host will be adaptable and willing to try new things. Keep your tone upbeat and positive. Go deeper than the application form.Try to avoid simply reiterating what is on the form. This is a chance to ta…

Tackling the Dust Bunnies (and other surprising benefits of hosting an exchange student)

By Elizabeth Markleson, host momYou could say I'm a relaxed housekeeper. Our kitchen table is covered with piles of papers "to be dealt with later", our sink is often full of dishes, and you can be sure there is a whole family of dust bunnies living under the furniture. When my kids were little and they would see me go into my cleaning mode, they would always ask, "Who is coming to visit?" Not much changes over the years! When it comes to housework, a guest is a great motivator.

The days were ticking down before our Spanish student arrived and my to-do list was getting longer and longer. “Don’t stress too much about it,” my sister said. “Isn’t your student just supposed to blend into your family as it is? This is an exchange student, not a visiting dignitary, after all.”

True, but I am a strong believer in the power of first impressions. When my daughter went to Spain a few years ago, her host family added some really nice touches to make her feel welcome...like …

From Guest to Family- All in 48 Hours

by Judith, Immersion in France, 2016



The first 48 hours of your time abroad will probably be the most exciting of your entire stay. There is so much to discover, so much to explore, so much you don’t know about…These first two days are filled with emotions: you may be a little anxious and worry that your second language is not good enough. You may be struggling to fit in and overwhelmed by everything new you discover.
As my own day of departure for France drew near, I wondered what my upcoming trip would be like. I wanted to know what it is like to meet a complete stranger. I wanted to know what it would be like to speak French all day long. Most of all, I wanted to know what my host family would be like.I hope to be able to help you answer these questions and ease a bit of your anxiety. What is it like to meet a complete stranger?First of all, you probably won’t be meeting a complete stranger. You’ll be meeting someone you know is interested in getting to know you and your culture. You’…