They say that studying abroad changes you, and even while I am still currently studying abroad, I have noticed that I have changed, and it is all due to my daily sunrise run along the Promenade des Anglais. Before studying abroad, I was somewhat active, I played soccer and went to Zumba classes with my friends, but being physically active was just a consequence of being social for me. However, this past summer I took up running and so I decided to bring my running shoes with me to Nice. Since running had increasingly become part of my life before I left, I thought that sticking with it when I was abroad would be a good way for me to re-create a familiar pattern for myself to stay centered in a new place. At first, it was hard to get up and out, but I am so glad I stuck with it.
When going abroad, exercise can fall by the wayside but exercising abroad is one of the best ways to help reduce the anxiety that comes with living in a new place and it can help you integrate into the local setting. Running along the Promenade des Anglais as the sun rises has become my favorite way of exercising since coming to Nice.
It was not until a couple of weeks into the semester that I really began to notice that I was feeling and running better than I ever had before. I had unintentionally begun to run faster and longer, and it was all because the sun was rising later. During my first couple of weeks in Nice, running along the Promenade was a hot, slogging process that found me constantly wondering if I was going to die of heatstroke in the middle of the millions of people on the Promenade (as you can tell, I have a bit of a dramatic streak). One of my problems was that I was running later in the day when the sun was at its full strength and the tourists were all out. So, I decided to begin running earlier. At first, I did not notice a big change, though it did feel great to get my workout out of the way early in the day. Then October hit.
All a sudden the number of tourists in Nice dropped dramatically and the sun was rising later and later. Eventually, one morning, because the sun was rising so late, I woke up and had to get ready for my run in the dark. By the time I had reached the Promenade to start my run the sun was just beginning to peak out. As the sun rose in the sky, I was forced to stop within minutes of starting my run because I was completely stunned by the sheer beauty of the sunrise. As the sun rose the sky came alive with vibrant oranges, playful purples, and cool blues above water that was so clear and blue that it felt unreal. On top of that, I was surrounded by the sound of crashing waves in my ears and the feel of cool seawater on my clammy skin. It was a transformative experience. At that moment, the world faded away and I felt refreshed, invigorated, and at peace for the first time in a long time. Once I started running again, now in the midst of the sunrise and all its glory, I forgot the tightness in my chest and the lethargy in my legs, and before I knew it I had run almost five miles in just under an hour, which was a huge jump in progress for me. Leaving the promenade that morning, I felt the best I had since arriving in Nice.
The next morning, getting ready for my run while it was still dark out, I found myself longing for the same incredible experience on my run and worrying that nothing would ever measure up again to that fleeting moment of peace and wonderment. Luckily, the same incredible sunrise over the sea greeted me that morning and has continued to greet me almost every morning since. I never thought that I would ever become someone who craves running, but going for my sunrise run has transformed my life. My sunrise run along the Mediterranean Sea is almost a meditative experience; the sense of calm energy I get during my run always stays with me for the rest of my day and I find that I have been more confident and less anxious than ever before.
Exercising abroad had kept me centered and made me stronger. Running along the Promenade has made me feel more connected than ever to Nice and gave me a moment in my day where I can dedicate a few moments to centering myself. The mix of moving my body daily and getting to do so in a setting where I get to soak in the best that Nice has to offer has been life-changing. Whether or not you choose to experience the sunrise along the Promenade by running, walking, or simply sitting along the promenade, the sunrise along the Promenade is a can’t miss experience.
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<p>Hello! I am a junior at the College of William and Mary studying global studies and data science, but my true loves are language learning and map-making. I enjoy reading and playing soccer, and I also love to bake, though I more resemble a candidate for Nailed It! then an actual baker. I am excited to go to France this fall so that I can practice my French with locals and eat some good food. For my next adventure abroad, I would love to go to China as I have recently begun to study Chinese and fallen in love with the Netflix show Wild China.</p>