When I was little, I always dreamed of ballet shoes, chandeliers, fashion, and the french language. Every symbol of luxury and decadence had reminded me of Paris, France, which is quite funny because I had never been to Paris until last summer. To begin, I fell in love with the French language when I was vacationing in Guadeloupe, when I was eight years old. My grandpa had taken me to a Club Med resort that had a kids club with kids my age that I would spend my days with. All of these kids spoke French and a little of English. They were such wonderful people and so exciting to be around. I remember a French woman who worked there told me “The French people, we value personality, we love uniqueness and when one expresses themselves”. I had fallen so in love with the people here I had tried to learn French on my own when I got home at the library. Unfortunately, an eight year old picking up a book in a foreign language and expecting to learn it is not so realistic.
So instead, I took pleasure in watching movies about Paris, reading magazines with photos of fashion week in Paris, and even wearing a beret to school.
Now, I am at CSULB as a French and Spanish major, studying abroad in Paris, France for my second time. I studied in a four week program in Paris last summer. I had learned so much about the history of Paris in that time and spent 16 hours a day touring the city and attending two French classes. I fell in love with everything, however, when you go in summer, even if you really love something, you only have the time to see it once. That is why I came back for this spring semester. I know it is hard to leave home. You feel you’re missing out on your friends, relationships, possible memories, but I promise you nothing changes. You’re friends are still you’re friends and your life will be filled with so much more than anything you could do in three years at home. The universal knowledge you learn from this trip is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my summer program. It is perfect for the beginning step to understanding the place you are at. I would highly recommend it for people who are not able to do a semester. But if you are able to do a semester, do it. Do not hesitate and do not let money stop you. You cannot imagine how much of the culture and life you will truly learn staying for a semester.
If you stay for a summer, you are a little more than a tourist, but if you stay for a semester, you are truly a resident. I urge you to please go and study abroad and chase your dreams, these memories are ones you will never forget and will shape your future.
This post was written by Jenna Rogers – a CSULB ‘French and Spanish Language and Literature’ major at CSULB who is currently on a semester program studying in Paris. If you are a student or alumni that has studied abroad and would like to write for our blog don’t hesitate to contact us!