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GeoVisions Blog

Participant Stories

Taking a Chance to Live in France

Posted by Gabrielle Christiansen | Thu, Jul 26, 2018

I’m sitting here, writing this blog post on my plane ride home from one of the most amazing adventures I have ever been on. I know I’m going to struggle to get everything I want to say out, partially because it is something that can never fully be put into words and partially because I might start tearing up next to the young guy to my right. I’m not exaggerating about that, either. How many 20 year old girls can say they lived in France for two months, surrounded by the culture day in and day out?

I had a once in a lifetime opportunity right in front of my face, and I’m so happy that I took the leap and just did it. Being a nursing student, it was almost impossible for me to study abroad. GeoVisions was the perfect opportunity for me to finally see the country I have been dreaming of since I was little. I will admit that I was nervous to go by myself to a foreign country without anyone there with me, but it was time to spread my wings and become more independent. I took part in the amazing tutor program through GeoVisions, which means that I got matched with a family looking to improve their English. From the moment I was matched with them, I knew I was going to have a great time.

While I was taken in to help teach English for 15 hours a week, they enjoyed English so much that we ended up speaking it for the entire day. My family made me feel comfortable and welcomed at all times. They calmed any nerves that I had about being in France alone. We got to bond over a love of language, sports, music, and more. It was also quickly apparent how similar yet so different life in a small village was in France. Nobody will ever be able to take away my experiences living right outside Bordeaux. From town festivals and local foods to the vineyards I walked by in the mornings hiking up the hills, I will cherish every moment forever.

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For anyone who is reading this, never be afraid for new experiences. I have grown so much as a person from my last two months on my own. I’ve made new friends, seen new places, and become a more confident individual all while helping a family learn a new language. I’ve loved every minute so much that I’m already planning my trip back!! 

My trip to France was my first trip alone, first trip to Europe, and first time being away from home for two whole months. I’m typically an over-planner, but I was surprisingly an in the moment type of person while I was away. One piece of advice for anyone thinking about going abroad, live in the moment. Take pictures, but remember to actually see what you’re taking pictures of. I promise it’s much more beautiful in person.

Topics: France, Tutor English, Volunteer Teach

Written by Gabrielle Christiansen

I’m a 20 year old senior at Rutgers University. I’ve always wanted to study abroad but doing so as a nursing major is incredibly difficult. I decided GeoVisions was perfect for me, and I’m forever grateful that I went through with it.

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