In the spring of 2011, I studied at Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne in Paris. I lived in a
small apartment with three other American girls whom I had never met. French was the only shared
language among many of my classmates, so we were forced to quickly learn about the French language
and communication in general.
The choice to study abroad is not one many people regret, though that is not to say that sudden,
unfortunate circumstances do not arise. My account which follows of some of these things is not intended to frighten anyone away from studying abroad. While there, I was a robbery witness and was pepper-sprayed in the process. I was stranded several times—in various places and hours of the day—without transportation. I failed a test or two. I visited countries without knowing a word of their language. I was informed (incorrectly) by doctors that I had a tumor. I ate bread and cheese every night because we couldn’t afford more. I spectacularly misunderstood people, and had the favor returned. I cancelled a trip due to civil unrest in the target country. I missed the flight to my spring break destination. I ordered a 60 euro dinner. I was yelled at by a store employee for being ignorant of their vegetable-purchasing policies.
Again, this is not to discourage people from studying abroad. Every mishap is a humorous memory, and
every hurdle conquered has developed me into a visibly more confident, courageous, and self-sufficient
individual. I wouldn’t trade these misadventures for the world, and can easily say that I regret none of
them because I made the effort to accomplish every goal I set throughout the semester. I advise
anyone planning on studying abroad to take as much advantage of anything and everything as I did. I
saw scenery that brought me to tears and fell in love with a city, a language, a people, and a way of
life. Unforeseen disasters occur no matter what; why not have a better story to tell?