Study Abroad Reflection

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

-Anthony Bourdain


This quote has been the story of my study abroad season. Travel is so much fun but it isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes you feel like your running a marathon but it is a cool marathon because you get to travel from country to country. Travel can be uncomfortable. Paris is a dream location for many and has been at the top of bucket list since my childhood. But, often times with city life, it was a little uncomfortable. We stayed in an apartment that was very tiny and I had to walk up five flights of stairs. You definitely want to pack light because you will eventually have to carry all of your stuff with you! Paris is well worth staying in a tiny apartment, though. Getting to see the Eiffel Tower and Mona Lisa was amazing. I never thought I would get make it to Paris to see those things.

Travel does break your heart. I met so many lovely people from all over the world that became close friends. It was very hard saying goodbye but I’m sure our paths will cross again. That’s another thing about travel, you never know who you are going to meet or where you will end up. Travel is sometimes an unknown journey but I love the mystery behind packing a suitcase and going.

The journey changes you. My journey opened my eyes to the big world we live in. Travelling gave me a mindset that I can do anything. When you travel to a country you have never been to before by yourself, it can be a little scary but it is the most freeing thing you can do. Your mind becomes an open book, its like turning a page to adventure. It’s the little things in life that are a bit different from country to country. They make your mind second guess why you do what you do. For instance, in France, many people walk to work. This daily habit can be life changing for someone who is overweight in America. Travel changes your mindset and your daily life, and opens your soul to the world around you.

Your visit to each city or each country gives you something different. In France, I took away the need to gather with friends and family. In England, I took the need to have fun and let loose. In Ireland, I look away the need to enjoy nature and the beauty that surrounds us. In Italy, I took away the need to live in the romance that each day provides.

I left behind my smile. A smile has no language barriers. I took it everywhere I went, despite the uncomfortable and heart breaking moments during my journey. I still have my smile with me though as I look back at all the memories made and I don’t regret my journey in the least bit. My wallet is a little lighter than before but my passport is full of stamps!



Five Things I love about Nantes, France

Five Things I love about Nantes, France  


  1. Lunch

There are many things I love about lunch in France. First, you have an hour and a half to eat which is really nice. You can actually enjoy your food. Second, French baguettes are simple but delicious and you can get them fresh from the bakery each day. French pastries top off a good lunch, they are second to none. My favorite is pain au chocolat which is basically a chocolate filled croissant.

  1. City center shopping

In the city center of Nantes, there are all sorts of boutiques in the midst of historic old buildings and fountains. Designer brands on every corner give you a feel for how important fashion is in France. They love their skinny jeans, jean jackets and Levi’s t-shirts.

  1. River time

In Nantes, there is a little river that runs through the city. In the evening, the French meet their friends and enjoy time together by the river along with great French beer and wine. It is a simple habit that makes for a peaceful lifestyle.

  1. Crepes

I mentioned pastries but crepes are on a different level. My favorite is Nutella but there are so many options. If you are ever in France, you must get a crepe. Creperies are on every corner so they are easy to find!

  1. Gardens

The Japanese Gardens and Jardin des Plantes are amazing places to visit in Nantes! The Japanese gardens neighbors the river so it is a nice place to see little water falls and picnic with friends. Jardin des Plantes has a goat petting zoo, birds, ducks, ponds and beautiful walking trails. The goats are so cute!