Thursday, January 22, 2015

Semester Abroad: Learning and Growing in Nice, France

Veronica LaManna, a member of the Verrazano Class of 2016 studying International Business with a minor in French, spent the Fall 2014 semester in Nice, France.  Veronica checked in during the month of November to let us know how she was doing.  Look for her final blog post in the next few weeks!

Coucou! I am currently at the halfway point of my study abroad experience in Nice, France.  It has been a long journey full of memorable experiences.  In the past two months I’ve had the opportunity to experience life in a different country, study in a French university, meet some incredible people, and explore two other countries.  Although it has only been two months, I feel myself becoming a different person.  I am forced to be out of my comfort zone every day, trying to speak a language that is different from my native, and trying to conform to the cultural differences.  I think that I have matured and have created this into a positive experience.

One of the things that took me a while to get used to was the University here in France.  I am studying with other Erasmus, exchange students, so we are all from different countries.  Back in the states, the majority of students in my class was born in the United States and has a similar way of studying and getting work done as I do.  Here, since we are from different countries we have learned different ways of approaching studies.  Some nationalities will work extremely hard while others prefer to sit back and relax.  Most of my assignments consist of group work, which forces us to bring our different work ethics together and try to find a happy medium.  It is not so easy, so it takes longer for the job to get done.  After two months we are starting to find the right balance even though we still have some disagreements. 

Since I’ve been living in France, I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel to two other countries.  Without my Verrazano scholarship I might not have been financially capable of having these two experiences.  I was able to explore Morocco and Rome and some cities in the south of Italy.  My experience in Morocco was the most memorable, and it's truly a country I can never forget.  Some of the Erasmus students and I found a tour hosted by a young man from Morocco. There, I rode a camel through the Sahara, spent one night sleeping in the desert under the stars, and explored the beautiful and historic city of Marrakech.  This was my first time in Africa and it was completely different from Europe and The United States. The city of Marrakech is beautiful, but it also is developing.  This means that there is still some poverty, which was something that I saw for the first time in person.  The experience in Morocco really taught me to appreciate everything I have after seeing how happy they were with having so little.  

Another city I visited was Matera in the south of Italy.  This city has been declared to be the European Cultural Capital for 2019 and was where Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of The Christ, was filmed. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and was settles during the Paleolithic era. I also found this city very memorable, because I got to experience it with one of my Erasmus friends who lives in this city and also because it had such a rich culture and history.  This historic city was one of the most beautiful I have seen.

Even though I am only halfway through my study abroad journey, I have already experienced so much.  Every day I am learning something new and having a new experience.  I am looking forward to the rest of my study abroad experience and being able to share all of my stories.  C’est toute pour le moment!

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