Some Departing Thoughts Before Nantes

James Daigler
August 25, 2018

Hi everyone! My name is James (or Jamie) Daigler—welcome to my blog! With only a few days to go before I board a plane for Nantes, France, there’s no better time than now to write a pre-departure post! (Exclamation Point!)

So a little about myself before we get into the thick of traveling overseas. For the past three years, I’ve attended Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. While it took me a while to choose a major—Lawrentians might say that I am “multi-interested”—I finally landed on English… with minors in Creative Writing & Philosophy, and Secondary Education teacher certification to boot. With my future career looking to be teaching high school English in the U.S., the obvious next step was to ship myself overseas to a non-English speaking country which is decidedly not America!  Makes sense, right?

Well if you weren’t curious enough to have already investigated the IES Abroad Nantes French Language Immersion & Area Studies program page, it makes more sense than you might first suspect.  A final decision hasn’t been made yet, but I’ve applied for an internship to help teach English at a local French school. (If I am not chosen for the internship, no worries!  There will still be plenty of exciting things to do in Nantes for me tell you about!) I really enjoy helping students learn and grow as thinkers. Any teaching scenario has its struggles and triumphs—working with French students will be an entirely new level of challenge with its own unique rewards, the least of which being lots of practice communicating in French!  

I’ve been learning French since my first year of high school and, while I feel pretty comfortable in my abilities, there’s nothing that compares to living the language for a few months. My biggest concern, at least for the beginning of my stay in Nantes, is the disparity in my French versus that of a native speaker. Less so when I read or write in French, but I am rather timid in situations that demand I speak French. My friends and family often accuse me of using big or uncommon English words (so what if I’m novel in my speech?!) and I simply do not have that kind of control speaking French. In that way, I will be out of my element. However, if all goes to plan, jumping into the deep end of the immersion pool—for example, by interacting with my homestay family or French school kids—will help me boost my speaking confidence!

Speaking of my homestay family, I was lucky enough to be placed with the Lopin family. Truth be told, I don’t know a whole lot about them at the moment; however, my friend stayed with them last year and he absolutely adored them! The stories he’s shared make the Lopins sound like perfect homestay hosts and I very much look forward to meeting them in person!

As far as prepping for travel, I’ve made sure that my last few days at home are as stress free as possible! Right now, my dog, Banjo, and I are lounging and enjoying a blog-writing break from reading, painting, and TV—just trying to soak up those last hours of summer before hopping the pond! Seriously though, prepping to study abroad isn’t that difficult but it feels weird. What I mean is that I am used to gathering up a car’s worth of college stuff: books, storage, furniture, etc. None of this can—or better should—go to France! So packing to study abroad looks more like packing for a vacation. (Here my parents would joke that it is, in fact, a vacation. To which I fire back that I will be doing real schoolwork… at least part of the time!) Of course, you need to pack knowing that you’ll be there for months in differing weather conditions and social capacities, but it’s not the typical college load. The nice thing about studying abroad in a city is that most anything I could want is pretty readily available. So if I forget something or I need to resupply hygiene products, it’s not too hard to find it. (PSA: Don’t try to pack three months worth of soap, it’s a waste of space and weighs a lot!) 

That’s all for now!  My plane departs for France this Tuesday, can’t wait! I am looking forward to sharing my adventure with you—more blogs to come soon!

James Daigler

<p>At my school, Lawrence University, we use the word "multi-interested"&nbsp;to describe students who enjoy too many subjects to decide on a single major. Although I finally landed upon an English major coupled with secondary education teacher certification, I cannot think of a better word to describe myself! I have always been curious, and I love to explore topics, whether it is creative writing or mathematics or music or foreign languages. I cannot wait to experience everything Nantes, France, and Europe offer and to share it with you!</p>

Home University:
Lawrence University
Kildeer, IL
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