It has been exactly one week from when I first arrived at my new home in France for my high school exchange program. Every day has been full with things to do. Things such as checking out the nearby towns, buying a cellphone, going to the supermarket, watching movies, checking out my new school, swimming (a lot), listening (a lot), and eating (a lot!!). My family is so amazing that I can’t bear to leave them in 6 months even though it’s only been a week!
I try my best to speak French as much as I can, although the family likes to practice their English with me. Sometimes I am too shy to say something or to ask something, but I will keep the sentence in my head and keep thinking it over and over again. This happens all the time. Even when I don’t want to say something out loud I just think about it and try to tweak it until it’s perfect. It’s a little weird, but I find it really helpful. I can’t wait until I can feel bold enough to say it out loud.
Today, another kid, studying abroad, arrived at the house. He is from Germany and goes to the school with my brother. I start school on Tuesday, in two days. I am going to a different school than my brother is. I’m a little nervous, but super excited too. Tomorrow, I have to buy school supplies and such.
My family keeps telling me, “Holly, when you leave, you will have gained 10 kilos! 10!!” The food here is so incredible, that I never refuse anything and always have a clean plate after the meal.
My four brothers constantly tease me and play tricks on me. I’ve been pushed in the pool six times. My name sounds like “au lit” (to bed) and is a constant joke. When I tried to make cookies, it turned into a flour fight…and then I got pushed in the pool. And I’ve eaten many bizarre combinations of food, after being told they are big French specialties. I have a twin at home who plays tricks on me like that too, so I’m used to it and as much as it annoys me, I love it!
I’ve decided that I will put an “Advice” piece at the bottom of each blog, because I have much advice for those currently studying abroad or who will study abroad. Not only will this help others who are reading currently or who will read in the future, but it will help me! Also, I know that if you’re studying abroad or will, you have received many booklets and lists about what not to do or what to do while studying abroad. I’m writing this, so it can be a little more personal, so everyone can relate to it!
- Speak! If something pops into your head and you are too shy, re-evaluate the sentence or questions in your head until it’s pretty accurate and say it! Your family will love that you want to practice your French and will help you with what you need.
- Don’t stay in your room for too long! For the first few days, I stayed in my room for a little too long in the mornings, and sometimes I wouldn’t eat breakfast. This is really bad! Your family wants to eat with you and talk to you. Trust me, it may seem scary to leave your room, but it’s so worth it!
- Take walks! This may seem a little strange, but to get to know the neighborhood and the town, a walk is so perfect! It’s a way to maybe meet the neighbors. It’s also a way to get some alone time, and not stay in your room. Take the dog, or if you like to run, take a run! Getting fit is never bad.