Mariah, outbound to France

It's impossible to sum up a my life in France without writing the equivalent of a short book. I can never summarize all the ups and downs I've felt being here and all the different emotions.

Exchange is something I will cherish for the rest of my life and I feel so blessed to have this experience. I don't know how I can possibly explain everything I've done in the time since my last journal without rambling.

It's not easy to be an exchange student. Anyone who makes the decision to leave their home for a year to live with strangers who don't speak your language is brave. Even though it can be nerve wrecking, exchange will be one of the best years of your life. I've only been in France for two and a half months and everyday I wonder how I will be able to leave this country that I now call home.

There certainly will be days where it's very difficult but there are many more days that will be amazing. It's strange to realize how quickly you can adapt to things that you've never done before.

I must say to all future outbounds, even though it has been said to you a million times... STUDY YOUR HOST COUNTRY'S LANGUAGE. Nothing will be more satisfying than having Rotarian's or your host family telling you how well you speak in your target language. When I came to France I had two years prior of learning French in school and it is not even close to the same as actually speaking it in France. So try to spend as much time as possible studying and getting used to constantly speaking in your target language.

Since I've been in France I feel like I have grown so much as a person in such a short amount of time. Being here has honestly been life changing and I will be forever grateful to Rotary for this opportunity.