Saniya, Outbound to France

Bonjour à tous!

Next week will mark four months since I’ve been on exchange. Time is really passing by so fast and things are changing for me all the time. My first month in France was hard, as I was still adjusting to all the differences; but now that I’m used to living here I can see a life starting to build around me. My language is improving every day, I’m making friends at school and with the other exchange students, and I feel comfortable going out in my city and exploring on my own.

I would say I’ve settled into a pretty comfortable routine. Every Monday through Friday I have school, but the schedule changes every day. This was something that took a while to get used to, but I really like it. French school hours are much longer than those of the U.S., but I see it as an opportunity to spend more time talking to the kids in my class, making friends, and improving my language. I’m in the equivalent of senior year, so all the kids are focused on making sure they graduate. However since I’ve already graduated in Florida, I’m only there to learn the language, and I’m not required to do any of the work.

Every weekend I either hang out with kids from school or the other exchange students/Rotex in my district. We all live in different cities but it’s so easy to pop over to Cannes, St Tropez, Monaco, or Nice by train or bus! By making sure I do something every weekend, with friends or my host family, I’ve already seen a lot of cities in my region and experienced much of what the Cote D’Azur has to offer.

Speaking of which, I am incredibly happy with my placement. Antibes is so beautiful and it’s right in between the beach and the mountains. Every day I am in awe of the beautiful sights around me. When I talk to local kids, they always tell me that they don’t find the south of France beautiful, but that they would love to see Florida. I can’t even compare the two. It’s so interesting how you can be blinded to the beauty of something just because you see it every day.

Every few weeks I think that my exchange is going better than it was a few weeks before. I can feel that it’s constantly improving and that I’m slowly changing as a person. I am more confident, grateful, and comfortable with myself. I’ve learned that it’s okay to make mistakes; and I’m no longer embarrassed at every little thing. Additionally, my sense of style is definitely improving, and becoming more expensive (sorry mom and dad)… Anyway, I can feel myself growing as a person and becoming more independent. I find that because every day is a challenge, I feel more satisfied at the end of every day. Each day brings so many new opportunities because I know I have so much left to learn.

That being said, I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the support that I have back home and here in France. Everyone at my sponsor and host clubs have been incredibly encouraging. Thank you to Sal, Larry, and all of Rotary Florida for everything that you guys do for us. If anyone from Rotary 1730 is reading this, merci beaucoup for organizing amazing trips and always helping me figure everything out!

Happy Holidays to everyone and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018!

With love from the French Riviera ;)


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