Hi everyone! My name is Lindsey Vassallo, and I am a participant in CIEE's high school abroad program. Currently, I am living it Toulouse, France for the second semester of my junior year. I have been interested in France and the French language since about eighth grade, and while I have been trying to learn the language since then, I am still not yet very fluent. I have also looked at boarding schools and schools in different locations for quite sometime, because I have always been ready to travel and live somewhere new! When I met an exchange student at my high school in Michigan, it made me think- why not combine a new school experience and French! I decided to start looking into programs and CIEE definitely seemed like a good choice. There were great reviews and the website was very informative; my mom and I thought it seemed like the best option. At first, when I told my mom I wanted to do this, she thought I was just talking as any teenager does. Little did she, or even I, know, months later we were preparing for me to go away to France!
The traveling experience was great. I flew with my mom to New York where we waited for a little while before meeting up with the other kids going to France. They were immediately welcoming and I was glad that I was going to be accompanied by these people on my journey. Us students flew alone, with our supervisor also, to Madrid, then from there we went to Toulouse. Here is where we met our host families and said goodbye to Nate. My host mother picked me up from the airport and took me home to meet the rest of my new host family- her three sons. All three are very nice, though I have only seen the eldest once because he lives in Spain. I get along with my host family very well, and after a month I think there is finally a more sibling-like relationship with me and the two boys. We all eat together and talk, and I always feel included in all their activities. I truly think they want me to have a good experience and I feel very lucky to have been placed with them.
So far, I am loving the country. My visit here has already caused me to start considering a gap year in France or even attending a French University. I love the atmosphere and I cannot even imagine leaving! There has a been a lot of walking, a lot of shopping, and a LOT of eating. I am excited for what is to come, and in later posts I will go into details about the activities I have done so far.
A tout à l'heure!