by Mickinley Nault, Center for Cultural Interchange High School Abroad Participant in France
On December 31, I will be boarding a plane in Virginia and flying to New York, then to Paris and finally, Nantes, France where my future host family will be waiting for me. Everyone seems to think I’m nervous for my high school abroad program, but I’m not- I am just SO excited!
Am I going to be completely lost because I’m not fluent in French? Probably. Am I going to miss people? Of course. But how many kids do you know get to spend seven months in another country? Not that many. I just feel so incredibly lucky and grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this point. I’ve spent so much time preparing. I had a job, so I could save money to support myself while I’m there. I took all of my school tests early, studying every weekend for PSAT, SAT, SAT subject tests, and midterms. I had to get a passport, and plane tickets. I had to go to Boston and apply for a visa. I had to pack everything I could possibly need in seven months into one 50 lb bag. I had to do all the stressful things people imagine when they think about going overseas. But there’s so much more that you wouldn’t even think about.
The whole point of studying abroad in France is to experience a different culture. Just by talking with my host family on the computer, I’ve heard things I never would have even thought about before planning this trip. Like apparently, they don’t have peanut butter in France. Something every child in America eats on a weekly basis is completely unknown to them. And while high schools in the U.S serve pizza at least twice a week, where I’ll be attending in France, they serve lamb! I think I’ve eaten lamb maybe twice in my life, it’s crazy to imagine it any other way. But I’ll be living it that other way! Everything will be different, and I’m not scared for the change. It’s going to be an amazing experience.