I’m sitting in my bedroom gazing at my two packed suitcases while they stare back at me. Amazingly, I fit everything I needed for four months into just two suitcases. As a notorious overpacker, I have to admit that I’m impressed with myself.
Packing my suitcases has been the easiest part of this journey, however. This past semester has been riddled with uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and the likelihood of international travel getting cancelled. I found myself mentally preparing for cancellations, delays, rejection, you name it, all as a result of the pandemic. It’s really disheartening how mentally preparing for the worst is now the norm, especially for students whose college experience was interrupted by the pandemic. My same mindset has applied to my study abroad application. Always apprehensive of cancelation, and nervous about all of the moving parts falling into place. I wasn’t granted approval from my home university until three weeks ago, so one can imagine my anxiety for the past few months.
Here are a few tips that helped me manage my pre-departure worries:
1. Note that IES Abroad programs ran successfully in the fall
2. Understand that the COVID situation is entirely out of my control, whether I like it or not
3. Have faith that both IES Abroad and my home university want their students to have international experiences, not hold us back
Despite every obstacle, in just a few short days I will be en-route to Nice, France for Spring 2022! My nervousness is slowly giving way to excitement as my departure date rapidly approaches. The pandemic is raging once again in the United States and around the world, but it’s not stopping me from going to France. Finally. My once-in-a-lifetime, magical study abroad experience in France finally feels real. After preparing for months, I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I love traveling and every element that comes along with it. I love the endless food choices, tired eyes, and chaotic schedules. I love having a window seat on a flight. I love feeling exhausted, but also incredibly accomplished, after a packed day of exploring. My semester abroad will be the most difficult trip I’ve taken, full of sore feet and some confusion, but I’m excited to challenge myself in new ways. There’s lots of room for my plans to go wrong: flight delays, missing my hour layover in Germany, and much more. I’m trying (emphasis on trying) to stay positive and trust that I can navigate my way through any challenge.
Once I arrive in Nice, I can’t wait to integrate into French culture. Cooking dinner in my cute Nicoise apartment with fresh ingredients from the market and strolling along the Promenade des Anglais are simple concepts that really excite me. Admittedly I’m nervous about my French speaking abilities, and know that I have a harsh learning curve in store. That being said, I’m using Duolingo as much as possible and drawing from my previous French courses to prepare.
My long awaited semester in France is finally happening, so stay tuned as I share my countless mistakes and unforgettable memories!
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Hey everyone! My name is Taylor Quinn and I'm an Economics major at UNC Charlotte. This semester I'm studying abroad in Nice, France with the Business, Sustainability, and Immigration Program. My hometown is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and I'm a huge football fan (American style). On the weekend, you'll probably find me discovering a nearby hike, scoping out a bookstore, or studying at a local coffee shop. I love to cook, although most would say I'm only an amateur, so I can't wait to explore the Niçoise cuisine and the rest that Nice has to offer.