Living here has been… Interesting. I can honestly say I have gotten the most lost I ever been in my life this far. Public transportation here in Lyon is huge! Everyone walks everywhere, takes the Tram as well as the Metro (subway) and the bus. There are even rental cars and bikes available for rent (but I don’t advise taking a rental car while you are studying abroad, unless you’re familiar with the roads in France). I have only been in Lyon for about a week and with this being my first time leaving the country I have learned so much in such a short period of time. Upon leaving the country, I had a list of things to expect… but none of those things happened. My advisors talked to me briefly about culture shock, which I believe I experienced on day 1 at the airport. Nevertheless, there were definitely things I wasn’t planning on expecting that I encountered. So I would like to share with you a list of things to expect when studying abroad to Europe… that your advisors don’t tell you.
Studying Abroad is extremely expensive! Because when you study abroad, you’re not just traveling to another country you’re actually moving to that country and just like anywhere in the world (including the U.S.) moving is expensive. In the first month, you spend money you weren’t planning on spending to get yourself settled in and situated. If you’re planning on studying abroad, plan a little extra in your budget, for unexpected expenses. Such as an international phone, transportation passes, insurance in that country, etc, etc.
2) The Beauty
Europe, but in particular France is extremely beautiful. Being from Vegas when I think of beauty I think of the scenery or the casino hotels that have unique architecture, never the school or the apartment across the street. In France it is like that. Everything here is beautiful. Buildings that you wouldn’t think are beautiful. The historical buildings are the most beautiful (go figure) but even the view across the street is breathtakingly gorgeous! Here is a picture of the view I have from my bedroom:
3) Great food!
I was told the food in Lyon was great, but when I heard that I thought of expensive restaurants or elaborate places but I haven’t had a bad meal since I arrived. I am talking the Baguettes from the general store across the street is great! the French Fries at the fast food place in the mall is great! you get a little tomato basil dipping sauce, for your french fries… at a fast food restaurant. The wine here is cheap and goes great with whatever meal you get. I have tried food here that I never thought I would eat. For an example: a salad with raw duck, and even that was great!
4) Nice people
So I don’t know about you guys but I have been told countless times that the French don’t like Americans. THAT IS FALSE! I have not encountered one mean French person from my time here in Lyon. The French have been so gracious with me butchering their beautiful language, at an attempt to speak it. If you’re planning on visiting France don’t be afraid to speak the language, I believe the French know it’s a complicated language. They’re more flattered than anything that you want to learn it in the first place.
5) Last but definitely not least, Lack of communication
When I thought of studying abroad I assumed I could use the wifi in my dorm to communicate with my family and friends back at home. What I was not expecting was not having wifi… like anywhere near me, at least none that is accessible. I was definitely not expecting how difficult it would be to communicate. Not just with the locals, but with my friends here that are in the same program and I. In my opinion the lack of communication has been the biggest struggle for me because being able to talk to my mom and sister back at home has been a struggle. This is something huge I was not expecting. I was told that almost everywhere has wifi and that it’s easy to come across, but that is mainly if you eat out at cafes or restaurants and with having to live in another country, unemployed for 6 months, with a budget, eating out 3 times a day everyday, is something that doesn’t happen often. In a way the lack of communication I have faced has been both a blessing and a curse. With trying to get a hold of my family being so difficult, I am forced to talk to them less and be more independent. I am forced to experience what’s in front of me, and not be consumed by what’s going on back at home. Even though not being able to get a hold of your loved ones every second you want is difficult, push through it, you’ll see the reward of that in the end.
Overall, I am having a great time here. I have to admit it has been difficult, I have encountered being homesick for the first time, and missing my comfortable lifestyle in Las Vegas but I highly recommend you study abroad if you have the opportunity. This is only my first week and I have learned a lot about my self and about how I interact with other people. Living in another country teaches you not only a lot about your self but also about the world around you. It allows you to become more independent and learn who you truly are. Studying Abroad is definitely worth every unexpected penny you pay.
(If you would like to know more about my time here in Lyon, and the adventures heading my way, make sure to follow me on Bloglovin’. Here’s the LINK)