Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Miranda in France!

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
-          Winnie the Pooh

Hi everyone, my name is Miranda Sherman and I have just returned home from my study abroad with the ESDES Business School at the Université Catholique de Lyon (UCLy). It has been just over two weeks since I returned home, and since then, I have had much time to reflect on all the incredible experiences I was able to take part in.
When I was thinking about preparing to leave my host country, I was met with unease and melancholy. How would I transition back home? Would the reverse culture shock be worse than the culture shock going to France? These were the questions I had been trying to grope for the last few weeks of my study abroad program. When the semester ended, the friends I had made slowly began to make their way back home, leaving me and just a few others in Lyon. Each day, I simply went out to walk around for a few hours and soak in the city before I returned to North Carolina. I just wanted to see and remember as much as possible before I had to leave it all. Even after living there for four months, I felt like I had not explored enough of the place I called home.

Antoine at the Only Lyon sign beside the Musée des Confluences, which also shows off Lyon as one of the European Capitals of Smart Tourism for 2019. 
A fellow Honors student, Lexi, and I outside of Buckingham Palace in London with our dragons Antoine and Rory!

At the time, I genuinely could not imagine saying goodbye. That’s all I did for the last few days of the semester; To my host university, to some of the best friends I have ever made in my life, and soon after, Lyon. I couldn’t imagine not walking through the train station each morning to get to campus, not smelling the fresh baguettes and pain au chocolat at the bakery along the way. I think that is definitely one of the things I miss the most already because it became such a routine that it is weird not to have those sights and smells anymore. A part of me was ready to be home, yet another part of me was torn about leaving. So far, being home has not been too big of an adjustment. One day, I did almost forget where I was and try to give someone euros instead of dollars, but other than that it feels nice to have familiarity.

Some classmates and I after a wine tasting in the Beaujolais region of France.
Some of my favorite travel buddies, Ally, Lisa, and Makayla, and I living our Cheetah Girls fantasy at Park Güell in Barcelona.  

When I sit back and think about it, what I went through was utterly insane. To be entirely transparent, the first few days before orientation were difficult. I flew into France on December 30th and knowing no one there meant spending New Year’s Eve alone. I struggled to find the courage to even go to a grocery store because I feared sounding stupid when I tried to speak French. After orientation, all of this changed. I instantly made friends, some of which I will probably know for the rest of my life. I became more confident in my speaking abilities and even spoke about the United States to elementary school kids who were just beginning to learn English. I started traveling almost every weekend and saw seven different countries. I tasted some of the best food in the world, much of which was right in my host city (Lyon is the food capital of France). On top of all of this, my dragon, Antoine, whom all of my study abroad friends adored, got to tag right along with me through the whole experience. Now, having been home for some time, I realize how truly lucky I am to have had an experience which made saying goodbye so immensely difficult.

Found Wall-E and Eve in Disneyland Paris

I cannot wait to bring back all the knowledge I have gained and the experiences I have had to UNCG with me in the Spring, but first, I’m off to Walt Disney World to complete the Disney College Program in the Fall! Thank you to everyone at UNCG and the Honors College who has supported and encouraged me as I embark on all these crazy adventures. I would not be half the person I am without all of you. If you want to see all of Antoine and I’s travels, check out the “abroad.” highlight on my Instagram: @_mirandaroselyn_

Any Game of Thrones fans recognize Kings Landing behind us? Dubrovnik, Croatia is not only a beautiful tourist destination but a major filming location for the famous HBO show!

  Au revoir et à bientôt!