At the very beginning of our semester abroad, we were warned of culture shock, and nearing the end of our time in France I realized that it did indeed become a reality and problem for many. Since being back in Oxford I haven’t been a stranger to it, nor have I been completely “shocked” by it. The moment I walked onto the plane in Nantes, the British plane attendant said “hello” and left me speechless: no more “bonjour’s”, “au revoir’s”, “s’il vous plaît’s”… Although I had spoken in English with friends in France, it still felt as if I was going cold turkey – which brings me to my second experience with culture shock that is still ongoing. If you have taken a gander at any of my other posts, you know that I love food (maybe still a bit of an understatement), and I think studying abroad in France turned me into even more of a food snob, which isn’t totally ideal for a college student. During my three and a half months studying in Nantes, I took for granted total accessibility to good food. Here in Oxford, England, the food is fantastic, but the food culture isn’t quite the same as in France. That’s one of the great things about visiting different countries, and something I do miss and will continue to miss about Europe, in general.
But on a more positive note, while flying to Southampton, I was sitting across from a family with (I think) a British mother and a French father. I spoke some French to the dad, who actually asked me if I was French…I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to my study abroad! When I landed in Southampton and was welcomed by British accents – including that of my mum – I instantly felt at home. I think culture shock for me is more natural, as I’ve had to grown accustomed to it from a very early age: I’ve moved around quite a bit for short and long periods of time, and have actually enjoyed it. I think I prepared myself enough for France and for the end of my study abroad, and I look forward to the next time I’m in France – we may even have a family biking trip along the Loire this summer!
It's great to be back and to have had Christmas and New Year's with my family, but I constantly find myself remembering friends and memories I made in Nantes. It was difficult to leave a university (Wooster) I loved for a whole semester, but it was completely worth it. Not many other experiences could have helped me grow the way I did these past three and a half months. I didn’t enjoy every single second of my time abroad, but I am thankful for every moment.
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<p>Bonjour! I'm Laura Schneider, a junior at the cozy College of Wooster, majoring in vocal performance and minoring in French. Apart from immersing myself in these two fields, I enjoy baking - while occasionally tweaking recipes, riding my bike, reading (especially outside), and playing (and watching) tennis. I lived in Bath, England with my parents my sophomore year of high school, and am so thrilled to be abroad on my own this time! After college, I am hoping to further my studies in performance somewhere in Chicago!</p>