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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Mary in France

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Mary Lee ’19 an Education and French double major currently studying abroad in France.

I would love to share a few notes from abroad. As of right now, I’ve been in France for about 2 1/2 months. Like all experiences, there are some awesome highs and some not-so-great lows. Some highs have been the travel I’ve gotten to do.

In France, I traveled to St.Malo, Dinard, Paris, and the Loire Valley to the the Castles of Cheverny and Chambord. I also got to go to Amsterdam and will be later going to the UK, Germany and Italy. The best thing I realized from my trip from Amsterdam is that I explored so much, I haven’t even explored my own city that much! I really like Rennes, the city is not too big or too small. I don’t think I could have handled Paris, it’s too big of a city and Rennes is a very cozy and nice place to live. Some of the hard parts have been getting sick and the crazy French administration. Getting sick here is hectic! I had to spend so much time getting paperwork filed. I’m also not used to how universities work here and I’m missing Lake Forest a lot. I’m not used to big lecture halls. I miss when I could comfortably talk to my professor and they knew my name. I also wish I did a couple of things before I got here. I wish I studied the map before I got to my city and knew a bit where things were. I also wish I saved up a LOT more money. Being here is expensive and there are hidden fees everywhere when studying abroad. The biggest thing is transportation. The bus and metro can be expensive but it’s the only way to get around.  I wish I had euros in my pocket when I got to my city because I was helplessly lost my first night and my credit card wasn’t working. Luckily a kind taxi driver drove me to where I needed to go and I paid him later. For my next study abroad adventure I want to plan for EVERYTHING so I don’t end up upset and stranded.

For my goals, I really want to spend more time exploring my city and having fun with my international friends. There are a lot in Rennes and I’ve had a lot of great food that my friends have cooked actually! There are a lot of great bars and I’ve met a lot of my friends there actually. I hope you keep hearing good things from me.