Settling In

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High School Abroad in France

Authored By:

Sophie C.

It's been just over a week since I've arrived in Toulouse, but it still doesn't feel real. The city is gorgeous and I find myself in a different cafe every morning. I have missed the bus and taken the metro the wrong way a couple times, but I'll figure it out soon. Last week was orientation and I learned about what to expect these next few months. I don't want to give too much away, but we did learn that people here don't smile to strangers and if you smile at a boy, he might think you are flirting with him, which you may not want to be doing (or you might, I'm not sure). 

On Friday I had my first day of school, and it was not as stressful as I thought it would be! Although I did had some moments where I realized I did not know the language as well as I thought, I was still able to communicate with my new classmates, who were all very welcoming. They tried to include me as much as possible into their conversations and helped explain to the cashier in the cafeteria that I am in fact the exchange student.

My advice for your first day is to be as outgoing as possible, even if you don't think you can be - you will surprise yourself! Once you come to a new country, no one knows who you are. I know for myself I am very shy, but I am working on that. One of the reasons I decided to study abroad was to become more independant and confident. I saw this oppurtunity as a way to work on that because no one here knows the person I was/am back home. It's almost like you're given a blank slate and you can use it however you please. So I'd say use it to your advantage. 

On the first day I didn't set many expectations because I didn't really know how it was going to turn out. It could either be terrible and no one would want to talk to me because they all had their own friend groups, or it could be amazing and everyone could be so happy to see me and welcome me to their school. The second one may be exagerating, but it turned out to be somewhat like that. There were some moments where I would not know what they were talking about, but I know that I'll learn it soon. I'm still adapting, but I think this is going to be an amazing experience!