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Where Have I Been? - An Update From France

23 Apr 2015

It's been a busy few weeks, and unfortunately that has meant I haven't managed to write any posts. I'm sorry! I now only have six and a half weeks left of my year abroad and I am seriously trying to throw myself into everything I do/can do in an attempt to not waste my last few weeks and make the most of things. 

The majority of last week I spent in and out of the dire campus that is my university (don't go to Uni in France, pals), sat in one and a half and two hour lectures and 'seminars' which I still struggle to understand and which still make me want to hop on a plane straight back to lovely, organised and competent Leeds University. The fact is that no matter how many of these I sit through, I'm just not going to adjust to the length or the way in which they are taught. 

University aside, I've been enjoying myself perhaps too much a lot lately, and the term 'erasmus yolo' (cringe, I know) has been thrown about far too much, but has resulted in days and nights that I just won't be able to experience again in England. Or at least, I won't be able to experience much. Realistically, am I going to regret spending the day when it was 27 degrees at the beach sunbathing, hanging out with friends and scoffing my face with ice cream and churros? No. Am I going to regret spending that day cooped up inside a classroom where a teacher talks at you for hours and I come out having learnt nothing? Absolutely yes. 

Apart from going to uni, beach days and the usual café trips, I have also had an interesting experience with the French health care here. Over the course of a few days half my jaw swelled up, making me look like a hamster on one side of my jaw and causing a lot of agony. After psyching myself up I spent the morning traipsing around multiple dental practices, describing my problem with lots of technical vocab to a lot of people who didn't really care, before finally finding a dental clinic full of lovely people who pushed me to the front of the queue and saw me immediately. 75 euros, a ton of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory pills and painkillers later and I am finally out of pain and my face is (almost) back to normal! A stressful experience to say the least, but I surprised myself at how well I could express myself in French and it has actually given me a bit more confidence in the language. Every cloud has a silver lining!

As a place, I love Montpellier and I love France. Would I live here permanently? No. The answer to that, despite my increasingly positive attitude towards the country, is still no. Why? Because it's still just a bit too weird and stressful for me. I don't think I'll ever feel completely at home, and it still winds me the hell up on a weekly basis. Just one example of this is the fact that I received six different letters from CAF (which is a housing benefit type thing most people can get here in France) within the space of two weeks, each one contradicting another on what I had to send off to them, and how much I'll be getting. They couldn't just send one letter outlining everything clearly without contradicting themselves? Nope. I also had an ant infestation yesterday in my bedroom and that really bugged me (get it? I'm so punny). All in all, it has its positives and its negatives, as do all places.

The thing about the year abroad is that it really is what you make it, and I have no regrets about making it one of (if not the best) experiences of my life so far. The people I've met; the places I've been; the (slightly crazy) nights I've had; the food I've eaten, have all made my time in Montpellier amazing. Sure, it's been stressful. Actually, scrap that; it has been the most stressful experience of my life, but you know what? I'm glad, so damn glad. I've had to push myself out of my comfort zone so, so much more so than before and although I still wouldn't consider myself to be a particularly calm person, I feel a heck of a lot more confident about small things now. 

A part of me is dreading going back to final year at University. I know what's in store and I know that it will involve a lot of incredibly boring and tiresome days at the library and in classes. But this time I know I will be going back to University in September with more motivation, dedication, and appreciation towards my studies. I'm scared that I won't be able to do enough to reach my full potential, but I'm confident now that I will be able to try, and I'm kind of excited about that.

4 comments on "Where Have I Been? - An Update From France"
  1. I've really loved reading about your adventures, it's been so interesting reading how different life is studying abroad. I can't believe it's almost over! Where's the time gone?!

  2. So happy that you're feeling better after your jaw incident.

    I reckon I would have felt so nervous seeking medical advice in a place I didn't know well. But good on you for doing it!

  3. Thank you, Chloe! I'm looking forward to reading back through posts when I'm home and laughing at all the silly stories/ being amazed at how I've coped with some things! I know I can't quite believe it... I imagine I'll adjust back into life in the UK immediately though! x

  4. Me too, haha! All better now and I'm almost off the antibiotics, hooray! x


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