By Stephanie Audette
I went skiing in the French Alps for the second time in the past month. Ever since I moved to the south of France back in September, my life has been full of surreal experiences that leave me both amazed and extremely appreciative of this journey.
I chose to study abroad for a year in Montpellier, a year that has been one of the best and most memorable years of my life so far. I always knew I would study abroad in France, but I wasn’t until after much deliberation that I settled on the program in Montpellier. So far away from my family and friends for the first time, I wanted a city smaller and more manageable than Paris. A vibrant city full of students, Montpellier was the perfect fit, with a population size comparable to Minneapolis; this new town in France would be the perfect home away from home. Weather and geographic location (what other place offers easy access to both the mountains AND the sea??), were other, smaller factors had me sold on the south of France. Because of where it is situated, Montpellier is the ideal location for travel within and outside of France, not to mention the 60-degree days in the middle of winter!
One of the best friends I’ve made here so far is my host mom, Michèle. She is so amazing and is always there to help me with everything from French homework to packing for trips! There was never even the slightest doubt in choosing to stay in a host family. The main reason I moved myself to France for a year was to absorb as much of the language and culture as possible. After nine months of living with Michèle, taking integrated classes at the local university, interning at a radio station, and just LIVING in France, I know I still won’t be 100% fluent but hopefully I’ll be pretty close!