Bonjour tout le monde!
This week was my third to last week in Aix- (bring on the tears), but I thought I would just talk about culture shock, and how it is affecting me as I am about three weeks away from being done with my studying abroad experience. Although I talk about this a lot, this is something that I think is relevant to every study abroad experience; and it is something you cannot control, but will most likely face one way or another. I think it is important to talk about and prepare for because like I have said before, it effects everyone differently!
For me personally, I haven’t had as much of an initial culture shock being France. Because Aix-en Provence is so different from anything in the states, it is almost better because you are not reminded of things at home, and I was able to fully dive into this program. I feel like because I am in a small town in France, and I am not in close proximity to a McDonalds or a Starbucks. However, despite my semi- easy transitions to the life in Aix, I also came across somethings that have affected me while I have been here.
While I am here, having the most amazing time, I think it is easy to forget that people’s lives keep moving on as well as time. Somehow it is easier to think that everything is paused while you are over here. Things such as a friend being in a relationship or news from home can really shake you up. The realization that you are more unconnected then you feel because of social media, and that realization and acceptance that because I am here I sacrificed an active presence in some people's lives become real. Of course I would not exchange my study abroad, but you still are reminded that time goes on.
The best motivation or advise I can bring, is culture shock will happen no matter what. Some people have a hard time adjusting here, some have a hard time adjusting when they get back, and some have a mediocre time both here and there; but either way, it effect everyone in different ways. It is easy to handle and the resources we are provided with are great, being aware sometimes is also helpful. Also, I think a huge important thing for me was having a positive attitude. I know it sounds easy, but constantly reminding yourself of how lucky you are and focusing on all the great things instead of things and people you miss, help bring a positive perspective.
The positives that come with study abroad are tremendous. However, even with the most incredible things, nothing is perfect, especially study abroad. That was just a small example of how little things somehow make you come into terms with how you future relationships and friendships could experience a change, especially during the months of your absence, and how to work through that and maintain one’s with people you want to be close with. Being aware and having a great attitude can help you appreciate this wonderful experience even more!
Á la semaine prochine!