This week, Kyle asked us to reflect on our living situations and aspects of our everyday lives, which was perfect – I had already started writing about this!
In general, there are two housing options for students study abroad: homestays and apartments. I chose a homestay for many reasons, including the prospect of improving my French, interacting with real life French people, and learning more about cultural customs. Based on a recommendation from another Wofford student, I requested a specific family and, luckily, was placed with them! From what I’ve seen, there are many traditional and non-traditional families that choose to host international students. The family I selected is composed of a retired mother, her adopted 20-ish year old son, a 30-ish year old family friend, and her niece.
For the first couple of weeks, another international student and I got used to a breakfast of fresh baguettes with butter and jam, heightened awareness of the length of our showers, and not eating too much at dinner (because it’s always followed by a cheese course and a dessert!). All of this was a little new and a little weird, but fun nonetheless! However, I’m here to update you on the nitty gritty as well as the fun and games…
During my second week in Paris, I woke up with bug bites all over my body. When they became too numerous to dismiss, I notified the housing director, who placed me in a hotel, organized dry cleaning, and booked me a doctor’s appointment. Since then, I’ve been living out of my suitcase in various hotels while a new housing option is arranged for me, wearing the same clothes for a week and a half and backpacking across the city with my belongings every day. This is my not-so-glamorous real life in Paris – very different to what I’ve chosen to showcase on my social media sites.
Final reflection: we all know that studying abroad is difficult because of language barriers, new experiences, and cultural differences every day. However, studying abroad can sometimes become infinitely more difficult than expected! For me, these past two weeks have been a lesson in discovering differences between French and American standards of hostel/hotel cleanliness, adapting to new situations, and expressing frustration and anger in a different language.