It just hit me. I will be leaving my home for 4 months to go to a completely unfamiliar environment with less practice of the language than I would have liked and very few classmates to keep me company. And tomorrow is my last day at home. My last day enjoying the California sun, my mom’s cooking, and over 400 TV channels to surf through daily. I spent the last month on my sister’s couch, having nightly dinners with my family, and working at school which is conveniently ten minutes away. I have been a safe cocoon of familiarity and when I board that plane on Sunday I will be thrust into uncharted territory with very little tools in my arsenal.
But I’m not freaking out. Despite enjoying the luxury of having my family close to me while I’m in school, I am confident that I can feel at home almost anywhere. My parents moved us around a lot when we were younger and with each change of town, or even country, I learned how to take lessons learned from the previous place and apply them to the new one. I learned to adapt, and I was happy to see all of those “new kid at school” instances help me out through college and any job or internship that I entered. I feel confident when taking chances because I know that even if I don’t reach my initial goal I will grow and learn so much about myself.
That is why I decided to enter a program that’s entirely taught in French. When I made the decision to start learning the language I didn’t do it to fulfill a language requirement, I did it because I honestly want to become a fluent speaker. But I also understood just how difficult that can actually be. Spanish was my first language and I was lucky enough to learn English at the age of 5, when all I needed to do was suffer through a few months of being confused during kindergarten before I picked it up automatically. I never had to go through the process of learning a language only in the classroom, I learned because it was all around me. I knew that in order for me to actually gain some fluency in French I would need to do the same thing. So with only two years of French I decided to travel to a French-speaking country, live with a French-speaking family, and attend French-only classes.
And yet, neither the French, nor the distance, nor the weather have managed to really distress me. Maybe I won’t reach that point until my last night, or on the drive to the airport, or when I say my goodbyes, or until the moment I board the plane, but no matter the time, I know after those few rough days, I’ll do as I always do and adapt.
Follow along for the next four months as I maneuver my way through a new city, new friends, and what I hope will be an incredible experience.
See you later! ¡Hasta luego! À bientôt!
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Alexandra Hall Rocha
<p>Hello! My name is Alex and I am originally from Colima, Mexico, the fourth smallest state in Mexico. I moved to California when I was four and have switched between the two places throughout my life. I have been surrounded by palm trees and good weather my entire life and now I will be in Paris, with 50° weather and not a palm tree in sight and I honestly couldn't be more excited. I cannot wait to explore the unknown territory and immerse myself in the diverse culture that exists in Paris, all while enjoying the sights, the people, and of course, the food!</p>