My France Semester Abroad From My Couch Was Exhausting

I Did My France Semester Abroad From My Couch, And It Was Just As Exhausting As It Sounds

My experience after prematurely returning home from study abroad due to COVID-19

Emily Heiser

On January 22, 2020, I embarked on what was going to be one of my greatest adventures yet.

I planned on studying abroad in Dijon, France, for the next four months: I would be taking French classes alongside students of numerous nationalities, as well as exploring the historically-fascinating and adorable town of Dijon. Little did I know that approximately a month and a half later, I would be frantically booking a flight home amidst the outbreak of COVID-19.

Not only was I unable to purchase souvenirs (sorry friends and family, no Dijon mustard or black currant jam for you) and visit the Musee des Beaux Arts, but I lost so much time with the wonderful people I had the pleasure of meeting while I was there. Fortunately, due to our digital age, I was still able to complete my courses online and receive full credit.

The experience was less valuable due to the lack of immersion, and I'm sure my French did not improve as much as it would have had I actually remained in France, but I did manage to keep in touch with the close friends I had made, and I was able to see my professors and classmates through video chat.

Even though I was in the comfort of my home while finishing the semester, the video classes actually proved to be just as, if not more, tiring than those in person.

Despite my efforts to listen to the news, a podcast, or music in French at least once a day, constantly being surrounded by my English-speaking family made every French class video call a slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong, taking classes in France was exhausting, no matter how much fun they were, but the video class sessions were even more so. Reading body language is such a vital part of a conversation, especially one in which you're not speaking your native language. Quite frankly, being denied real human interaction was always draining and sometimes even disappointing.

Perhaps the strangest part of finishing the semester back home was feeling like the old version of myself while interacting with people I had met when I felt new.

One of the reasons traveling is so exciting and fulfilling is because it's an opportunity for reinvention, even on minuscule, subconscious levels. Whoever you meet while abroad is meeting a specific version of yourself at a specific moment in time of great discovery and reflection. It's refreshing to meet people who have no context of your past whatsoever.

But alas, the power of home.

There is no doubt that I carried back with me the experiences, independence, and confidence I gained while abroad, but environment is everything. The second my flight touched down in Ohio, I was back in a place of a previous life with people who knew me well.

I appreciated the familiarity, especially during such an uncertain time, but it made conversations with French professors and FaceTime dates with friends that I met abroad a little surreal. I eventually settled in, but it never ceased to feel like a tug and pull between two different inventions of myself.

Nevertheless, I am more than grateful for the experience.

Not only will I cherish the month and a half that I did have in France, but I can guarantee that I am more prepared to travel internationally and have adventures than I was before I left. This is not only because I managed to travel home by myself despite the frenzy that comes with the beginning of a pandemic, but because I am so darn ready to leave the house.

Report this Content
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Wore A Butt Mask Every Day For A Month, And It's Officially Essential In My Daily Self-Love Routine Now

Thirty days later, my booty's as smooth as a baby's.

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments