Tomorrow is the day that my year abroad comes to an end and I am going home to England. I’m feeling a mix of emotions. I’m happy to be going home to my family and friends and all of the things i’ve missed, but i’m sad to be leaving the life i’ve had here for the past 7/8 months. Besançon and all the people I have met here have more than exceeded everything I could have hoped for. I thought for my last year abroad blog I would write up a list of everything I am thankful for and the things I will be leaving with from my time in France as an ELA.
- Friends for life. Never did I expect to make so many close friends in the time that I was here. I really do feel part of a family and I feel so lucky to have shared this experience with so many people from all over the world who I know I will keep in contact with forever.
- Confidence. I will never forget how scared I was coming here on my own and not knowing at all what to expect. My parents and my friends will be able to tell you how nervous I was in the weeks leading up to me moving. Looking back to then from where I am now, I feel so happy and proud that I did it. Also my confidence with speaking French has increased hugely, which is something i’ve always found hard to overcome.
- FOOD. I am going to miss all of the cheese SO MUCH. ESPECIALLY COMTÉ!!!!!! I have tried so many new foods whilst I have been here (courtesy of my housemates who have actually been my parents this year and fed me), and of course wine, so I will definitely miss the French Cuisine. Not sure my uni cuisine next year will quite live up to this year. Hard to believe that I used to be such a fussy eater who would only eat chicken nuggets and chips and no veg at all. Side note: I will also miss my new favourite drink Monaco which has been by go-to here because I miss strongbow dark fruits. Here’s a nice pic of me with the love of my life Monaco.
- The Travel Bug. I have been so lucky that I had the chance to travel as much as I did. I saw new things everywhere we went and it has just made me want to travel and broaden my horizons even more. My favourite place was probably Annecy, but it is so hard to choose! And now that I have so many different friends all over the world, I have an excuse to go and visit them all. See you soon guys x
- My Job. While I am not sure I want to be a teacher in the future, I am so happy that I spent my year abroad as an ELA and got to have the experience of working in a school. I could not have asked to be in better schools with better teachers or students. From the get go, the schools and the people who run the program itself have been amazing and I can’t thank them enough. I know that my experience could have been a whole lot different had I been in different schools or regions. I will miss all of the teachers that I was lucky to work with, but also the students who were such a pleasure to work with.
- Free time. While this year has had it’s ups and downs (mostly ups!) and the occasional stress, there’s no doubt that I have had way too much free time on my plate. It’s been a nice break from uni and i’ve watched more series on netflix than I can count on my hands. For that reason, I know that it is going to be such a big shock going back to uni for final year, but i’ve still got all summer to worry about that!
I could go on forever and ever, but you get the idea. I really can’t put into words how happy I feel to have such positive thoughts at the end of my year abroad. It wasn’t easy but this year was definitely the best thing I have ever done. If I have any advice for people who will be ELA’s next year or in the future, I would say : 1. Don’t be scared, because everything will work out as it is supposed to. 2. Have confidence in yourself, because you can do it!
So tomorrow morning, I leave my little apartment and my lovely friends who I will miss so much. Not so much the spiders that have tormented me for the last 7 months 🙂 I don’t know when I will be back in Besançon, or even France, but I will 100% be back one day hopefully not too far away!