Semester in France proves to be rewarding, educational experience

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

It has most definitely been the best semester in France – better than a Krispy Kreme donut.

Despite the traveling problems in London and the occasional “I don’t understand what you are saying,” I have had some great experiences.

At the University d’Orléans, students have come from every corner of the world just to learn French. I have made so many new friends from not only the United States but from Romania, Australia, Spain and Russia.

We learn from each other, whether it is learning new words in French or learning about their customs and their ways. Although we have had some language barriers at the beginning of the semester, we have all become friends now. That is something I am going to miss.

If there is something more than making new friends, it’s the traveling. I have been to Paris five times during the course of the semester and have loved every minute of it. Just this past weekend I spent my last day in Paris. The Christmas spirit was in the air as I watched the lights turn on on the Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower sparkle and shimmer.

Closer to home in Orléans, the Christmas market surrounding the famous statue of Joan of Arc is popular. One can buy different foods and crafts unique to the region. Since I am spending my holiday time in France, I can’t wait to see what Christmas day is going to be like.

A few weeks ago, I had my first experience at a French movie theater. Called Les Indestructibles (The Incredibles in the states) here, I found it somewhat hard to understand it without the English subtitles. Luckily, the movie is all visual. But, when the parents in the movie theater started laughing about a particular line, I did not. I could not laugh at the adult humor because I could not comprehend it.

It will be weird returning to the states and seeing everyone again. Culture shock time. I realized I am going to either have to relearn some things like the American computer keyboard and speaking English. Since I have been here so long, my English is messed up. When I speak, the word comes out in French.

Because I have been to two different countries, too, I am getting my currencies mixed up.

The other day I called the euro a pound and the dollar a euro. I wish everyone would just go to the same currency then we would not have this problem.

When I return, I will come back not only understanding French better but also more confident in myself. I look forward to coming back for the spring semester.

This is Jessica MacIntosh signing off from Orléans, France. Au revoir.