Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Nurzhan in France

Nurzhan in France Nurzhan '25 exploring the Louvre museum
March 27, 2024
Nurzhan Amanov '25

Nurzhan Amanov '25, a double major in economics and computer science, is studying abroad in France.

Being in France for me was a grand return to Europe after 2.5 years in the US. At first, the feeling of novelty was so overwhelming I overlooked the fact that I am supposed to actually settle in a completely new country. I would not say it is difficult for me to get along with people, but the hardest part is to start feeling accepted as part of the community.

What I did not take into account early enough was the change in the language. It was my first time living in a country not so eager to speak English. Hard at first, it made realize that the discomfort it was bringing me could be the biggest push for improvement. Early on, I started speaking French. Early on, I realized that my decent level was not as good as I thought when it came to speaking with the natives. Countless times of saying: “I am in exchange student; my French isn’t as good” or “Could you please say it slowly” were starting to get more and more irritating. What was worse is that I was not feeling any progress in the first month, almost none at all. That was what pushed me to try even harder.

Now, I speak French as if I am fluent. Not because I am, but just because I feel like that is the best way to get the best out of my experience on the exchange program.

Eiffel Tower         A street in France