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Traveling in Belgium vs. Traveling in France
by Student, Arianna R. , Quito, Ecuador

Traveling in Belgium vs. Traveling in France

Since the day I found out that I was accepted to the Nice program, I have been counting the days and hours until the day I board the plane to leave Ecuador.

I am thrilled about attending Abbey Road Programs because I think I am going to have so much fun, make many good friends, learn photography and improve my french. One of the things I am looking forward to is to change my daily routine, so, not going to school, spending time with my friends during recess and then returning home to do homework.  I want to make friends from around the world, with different cultures, so I get to learn more closely about them.

I am really excited because by living in a different country far away from my family and my comfort zone it will make me grow in many different ways, like maturing, being independent and learn how to make my own decisions and these are the things that will help me prepare for the future. There are some benefits that we do not take into account that little things such as trying communicating to local people and navigating around a busy foreign city and helps us improve in problem-solving skills that will be very helpful over time.

I would love to stud at my undergraduate school abroad, so having this experience will help me understand and be ready for when the time comes that I leave for a much longer period of time. Many of my friends have never had an experience like this before leaving for college and have returned home sad for not being able to handle the situation.  I am sure this is a great introduction to my future plans.

Ath, Belgium

For the first three months of 2017 – 2018 school year I was lucky to study abroad in Ath, Belgium leaving with a host family and attending a non-international school where all classes were dictated in French and all kids were Belgian.  When I traveled to Belgium I hardly knew any French, classes were very difficult to understand. As days passed I was able to understand a little, but teachers there had to keep their schedules and their curriculum so at times I felt completely lost, the very worst moments were when I had to take exams.

Immersing With French Culture

I am relieved that at Abbey Road I will have to take a placement test in order to be in a class where all students are in the same level and teachers dictate the class according to the student’s knowledge, this way I will be able to learn more and feel comfortable. I want to improve my French, and I know that it won’t be only by spending time sitting in a classroom, but by interacting with native people around campus, in Nice and the other cities we will visit.  One of the things I like the most of taking French lessons in France is that you not only get to learn it much faster since you are surrounded by French-speaking people but also that you get to learn it without an accent.

As much I don’t want to say this, leaving my country by myself makes me a little concerned.  The part that frightens me the most is getting there and not knowing anyone, and you never know how fast you will be able to make friends.  Sometimes you see that the girls attending have traveled with a close friend so they are not as eager to make new ones. Also being a little lost in the language because although I know some French it is not perfect, and even more so when someone talks to me fast I get a bit nervous.

Making Friends

I have seen many blogs from students that have attended the same program I am going to, literally all of them described how beautiful everything is, how much fun they had, how they made friends very fast and that it has been one of their best summers ever. So this is one more thing that encourages me and makes me have really good expectations for how I am going to spend my summer.

I love traveling, visiting new countries, trying typical food, admiring the architecture of the cities, looking at small stores and being able to sit in little cozy cafes and observe people walk by. I have heard food in France is amazing, I am dying to try it. Of the things I have to head the most are their bread, and their macaroons. My cousin told me there are so many different macaroon flavors, I can not wait to try them all!!

eating macaroons a good part of my traveling

My family went to St. Tropez, unfortunately, I didn’t because I was still in my interchange in Belgium. They told me how gorgeous this city is, they just made unbelievable comments, like how amazing the views were, all they ate, and how friendly people where.  My family was also amazed by the huge yachts they saw on the pier. They told me that it was an amazing experience. I really wish that on one of my weekend’s trips I will be able to go to St. Tropez. It would also be super cool if I get to see famous people, I have heard that many of them spend their vacations in the south of France, so I just see myself walking through those fancy streets and just see for example Alessandra Ambrosio walking in front of me!

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