Continued from It’s all about adjusting - Part 1...
On top of the language barrier, I’ve also been learning to adapt to certain lifestyle changes that are characteristic to France. Rather than focusing on administrative efficiency like in North America, the French have advanced their healthcare and public transportation systems. So, while the metro lines, buses, and trains are fantastic, and will take you almost anywhere you want to go, the university registration process was more difficult than I expected. And while, as a Type One Diabetic I’m jealous that residents of France with chronic medical conditions have all of their prescriptions paid for by the government, I’ve noticed a very different and laid back sort of approach to customer service and administrative tasks. For example, the University, and most of the city for that matter, closes down all of its administrative facilities over the 12-2pm time-frame. They don’t offer classes during this time period, so it’s like a campus-wide 2-hour lunch break for almost every single student, faculty member, and staff member.
Although there are many similarities between France and Canada, this exchange has really opened my eyes to a completely different way of life, one that I’ve learned to appreciate for it’s unique benefits. With all of these changes, I’ve realized a lot about myself, and I’ve learned how to persevere through new and trying situations. I can honestly say that I’ve gained the ability to adapt as I discover a new country with a different way of doing things. Living abroad has been one of the most unique and wonderful experiences in my 20 years so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next during the rest of my exchange semester.
By: Meghan Thompson, winner of the Remes Family Study Abroad Scholarship