Pre-Departure 1: 75 days, 9 hours and 30 minutes to go!

Friday, June 13, 2014

As of today, I have 75 days to go until I board a plane from Denver to DC, then from DC to Paris! 75 days seems really long, I know. But I can't imagine how fast that time is going to fly! Especially with my crazy internship and work schedule.

Anyways, to kick off my summer of waiting for France, I thought I would start a series on this blog called "Pre-Departure" where I write about the process of getting ready to study abroad in France!

Yesterday: I set up my appointment at the French Consulate in Los Angeles. One of the things that is a little bit annoying about studying abroad in France, is the fact that I have to appear in person at the consulate in LA. It's annoying mainly because of the fact that I am working a lot and it's a drag to try and find an appointment time that works with my schedule. However, LA could be fun! Maybe I'll make it into a trip to Disneyland.... TBD.

I probably should have made the appointment sooner, but with finals and work and everything I just kept forgetting. Now that's set, and I have all the documents I will need, and I'm ready to go! One step closer to France!

Next steps: Research what to pack. I have a tendency to overpack whenever I travel. Therefore, I need to do some pretty thorough research to see what I will actually need, and then match it up with what's in my closet. Who knows? There may be some shopping involved...

I also want to throw a party for my friends who are going abroad and are still in CO. Therefore, party planning tips very much welcome.

To finish out this first post of my Pre-Departure series, I thought I would make a list of the reasons I chose to study abroad in Caen!

1. French Language and Culture - I knew I wanted to study abroad in France to improve my language speaking ability. I've been studying French since I was in middle school, and I can understand it pretty well, better if it's written. I cannot speak it. My accent is thoroughly American, and it's too academic. I get nervous when I speak French here. A small town in Northern France sounds like the perfect place to immerse myself in French language and culture! Paris, while beautiful, is almost too worldly. I feel like I would only speak French in class, and then be able to speak English at the other times, which is not what I wanted out of my study abroad experience.

2. Historical importance - If you look at pictures of Caen, and of the Université de Caen- Basse Normandie, you will notice that it looks pretty modern. Not exactly the ornate, medieval architecture you would expect from a University that was established in the 1400s (at least not what I expected). Also, ever heard of D-Day? 70 years ago this past week, the invasion of Normandy occurred. This little town, Caen, was pretty much decimated during WWII, which is why it doesn't look as old as one might expect. Today, there is a WWII Memorial and Museum in Caen, which I am very much looking forward to.

3. Proximity to England - Caen is really close to the English channel. I'm excited to live near water for the first time in my life (I've grown up in Colorado - never on a beach). My cousin is also studying at art school in Bournemouth, England, which is almost right across the channel from Caen! It will be nice to have a familiar face on that side of the pond.

4. The food - On my program website, it says that Normandy is famous for it's cottages and it's cheese. I LOVE cheese. And French cuisine in general. I can't wait to try these amazing cheeses! Also, being close to an ocean, apparently the seafood is pretty good. I try not to eat seafood in Denver since we don't touch an ocean. So, being in a city where you can actually eat seafood might be fun!

5. Small town vibe - In many ways, Caen reminds me of Boulder (from my research, I've never actually been there). It's pretty small, and it's a college town, since the Université de Caen is there. Boulder's the same way: small college town, filled with nice people. Now that I live in the city, although Denver is a pretty small city, it's loud and polluted and busy. While I love it (my short-attention span loves it, I should say), it will be nice to live in a less-busy, less-polluted, smaller town.

But most of all, IT'S IN FRANCE! When I first started taking French in 7th grade, I did not think it would turn into the love affair it is now. I'm a francophile, through and through, and I cannot wait to live in such an amazing place!

As always, thank you for reading. :)

xoxo,

Zoe

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