Thursday, 15 June 2017

À bientôt!

I had no idea what to expect going into the year abroad and it's been no secret that it wasn't always smooth sailing. But now that my time in France has come to an end, I'm so sad it's over! About an hour before getting on that Gatwick plane it dawned, I mean properly dawned on me; that my French was bad, my public speaking skills were bad and my memories of school were pretty much all bad - definitely not an ideal situation for an insecure, anxiety filled individual on their way to teach teenagers in France for 8 months. And yet, so much good came out of my move!

  • I didn’t know it at the time but I needed a year out from uni to reset. I love university (admittedly more when I'm not there and can appreciate it from afar) but I've always felt swamped by the workload and trying to balance that with everything else. It takes a physical and emotional toll and I just felt like university was happening to me. With a year out, it was super nice to not have to worry about any of that and, actually remember what life is about: brioche, almond croissants and Netflix. 🖒🖒
  • My confidence drastically improved; I'm telling you, fake it to you make it actually works. On Day Two, I was left alone in front of 16 16 year olds so as you can imagine, I didn't really have time to gradually get comfortable in talking to groups of people.  This ended up being was a blessing in disguise because I really had to push my myself early on, which sped up the confidence process.
  • I feel like an  adult. Moving out to live and work full time in another country demands a whole other level of independence that wasn't necessarily required of me when I moved out to uni. You can't reach your parents as easily, you can't just go home when you want and, you're treated as an adult in the workplace.
  • Small town living 💗 I lived in a town called Les Herbiers in Vendée and ngl, first day I was like, never seen so much green space in my life and I'm not crazy about it. There are only 2 buses that leave the town every day and there isn't a train station so it's just not that easy to leave unless you have a car. In the beginning when I wasn't settling in, I did feel really alone and trapped. And in hindsight, that feeling was linked to not knowing anyone. Once I made friends, I really appreciated living in a small town! Everything is so cute and dainty and! the slower pace of life and sense of community is something you can't always find in a city. And I miss my local bakery. Sigh.
  • Friends 💗 I made some great friendships! 
  • I have a new appreciation for teaching. Not that I didn't before but seeing more of the teaching side of things made me realise how hard it is to teach well! Sidetrack - I also learnt that teachers are like some of the gossipiest people ever like wowwowwow who knew?!
  • And I've fallen in love with France! What a country. The language (once you can semi speak it :L), the food, the people - it's a beautiful and really unrated place and I can't wait to go back!


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