Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Student Abroad

My name is Albrianna Jenkins. I am a Maryville College student who has been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to study abroad in Caen, FRANCE!!
At first, the idea to study abroad seemed interesting enough, but not nearly as real as is now is to me. I was looking to travel abroad for the J-term (roughly three weeks), but what I ended up doing was deciding that a semester abroad would present me with enough time to transcend "tourist" and become a "local". Today is my sixth day here, and it has given me just enough time to realize that I made the right choice.
My pre-departure class prepared me for many things, but one thing that I just had to come to terms with by myself was the fact that this was my reality! I have lived in Tennessee all my life, and although I'd traveled to a handful of other states, my knowledge of the world outside of my hometown was severely lacking! Even my knowledge of the geographic location of France was non-existent. It might as well have been Narnia!
The first time I flew to France was also the first time I'd flown ever! Was I scared? Strangely, no. While my family warned me of human traffickers, terrorists, and other unpredictable oppressors, I listened attentively, and then, nothing. I had a peace within myself that this was something that I needed to do. My perspective of the world was so limited! I needed this traveling experience! So I said "Au Revoir!" (Good-bye) to my family, and I came to France. Of course, I miss them dearly, but I'm using this time away to grow.
A quote that has led me to the point I am at is this one:
"Which do you want: the pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?" -Judith Hanson Lasater
I am looking at every uncomfortable situation as an opportunity to grow, and every time I feel a pang of longing for my family, I count it as growing pains! Sure, its not the best sometimes, but in the end, I will be a better person because of it. A bientot. (See you soon) -Albrianna