November 11, 2015, by Gemma Coleman

Memoirs of a Study Abroad-er

So it appears that out of nowhere, I only have two weeks left of my study abroad period in Paris and in the words of Taylor Swift (fan girl alert), I’m suddenly feeling happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. Reflecting on the last 3 months, I’m starting to get sad about leaving, weirdly nostalgic about Nottingham and basically just taking some time out to do some serious soul searching (if that’s what you call eating Nutella out of the jar and staring out of the window instead of doing your essays).

Don't mind me, just pondering

Don’t mind me, just pondering

So, I present to you a cute little list of the things I have learnt from study abroad:


  1. You need to adjust your expectations


In my head, I was going to be so fluent in French by December that I would come back to Nottingham and be that annoying study abroad keen bean who says bonjour when they bump into people – I just think in French now guys. It’s safe to say my French is still not perfect and my face is quite often blank when an unexpected question is asked to the bumbling English girl. Not setting yourself ridiculous goals is important, but it’s also important to reflect positively – I’ve learnt a lot of new words and now actually have the confidence to not immediately resort to the “je suis anglaise” technique.

At least I can order food

At least I can order food

  1. You actually have to study


No one warned me that I’d have to write a 7000-word essay on socialist Romanian archives (yummy) or that I’d have to read so much about the ethics of war that watching Homeland became a moral analysis (but hey, at least it counts as work, right?). When preparing to go away, all I could think about was all the cafes I was going to go to and all the (window) shopping I was going to do, completely overlooking the fact that I would have to balance this with books. But I can now say that I am a time management goddess (if you disregard the weekly essay meltdowns).

Definitely studying

Definitely studying

  1. You will learn things about yourself


Ok so that sounds so cringe but being away from my friends and family has given me so much time on my own that not only have I had time to think about what I might want to do after uni (and no, before you ask mum, that doesn’t mean I know what I want to do so please stop asking) and realise that I quite like my own company (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t?). I don’t know whether I want to keep exploring new places and avoid the real world for a little longer, or whether I’ve satisfied this urge, but at least I’ve had time to seriously think about it.

Mandatory Eiffel Tower pic

Mandatory Eiffel Tower pic

See you next month Notts xoxo

Posted in Gemma