Aero: Alaina Steensma – France 2018 – Epilogue

Aero: Alaina Steensma - France 2018 - Epilogue

Aero: Alaina Steensma – France 2018 – Epilogue

Alaina Steensma

Alaina Steensma

Throughout the course of this trip, from preparation to the weeks after i have learned a number of immeasurable things about not only myself but my culture and theirs.

To start with myself i learned that being able to change plans at a moments notice and to not get hung up on a specific time frame or schedule is something that is very hard for me. I am used to getting everywhere on time and always having a plan. However in France it was very difficult to do this due to the fact that museums were sometimes closed, or the amount of time spent in them was seemingly different every time. Learning to really pace oneself to be able to sit back and enjoy what your seeing is something that i often take for granted, being so hung up on getting everywhere on a time schedule is a very American way of thinking in my opinion. When i was in France in the host students house especially dealing with the train strikes it wasn’t a huge deal when one train wouldn’t come or one was running late. There was always another train to catch and everything always ended up being perfectly fine. This also happened in the morning before school me and my host student would often stop for coffee in the town of VitrĂ© before class meeting up with Dallas and his host student Tom to relax and have a cup of coffee. This slower paced atmosphere i think embodied the french culture for me of time management. When i was with the teachers travelling through the beaches at normandy or elsewhere they would say to be back at the bus at a very specific time and yell at everyone not to be late, and they in turn would often be the last few ones on the bus, while this frustrated me then i realize now that it’s simply not a big deal, at all. Another thing that i particularly notice often now when driving through Rochester is how ugly all of our construction sites are, and even on Canandaigua lake that big mass of steel just sitting on the landscape is something that would never happen in Paris. I deeply miss the presence of the faux fronts or facades as they might say. I think that even though that may be one of the stranger things to miss on a daily basis i think that trips like this it really is the small things that you pick up on and take back that end up being the most important. Just as some of the girls in class were saying more particularly grace and Amanda talking about how they were recycling more and using reusable bags, it’s the small graces of a foreign country that make the most impact on us.

One thing i wish that we had ore of here in America like they do in France is the open debate and share of knowledge and opinions between people from politics to general subjects, they teach their children that it’s okay to ask questions but the attitude of debate there is one of respect and to gain knowledge and understanding not one of trying to argue with the point of changing the other person mind immediately. One thing I’m particularly envious of is their zeal and love for information not only of their country but of the ones that impact them. Often times when they discussed America they seemed to know much more about what’s going on in our government and the lives of American people that a lot of Americans and most certainly i. It was actually truly embarrassing the lack of knowledge i had which is something I’m trying to be more conscious of these days is the need to learn and know about our own government.

This experience contributed to the way i view myself as a global citizen by making the world a more reachable place, it showed me that even if you aren’t comfortable with the language or know anyone more than just a few days that it can all change so incredibly quickly, it taught me that even if i am not personally paying attention someone else will be and that really hit home.i think that this trip has not only opened my eyes to my own ignorance but has also contributed to my future career paths. This is because world travel is something that changes you on a deeper level than just learning about a place from a textbook, it’s far more personal, the knowledge stays with you much longer and you amass knowledge, care, compassion and a longing to appreciate a culture and way of life that you previously would not have been able to.

Thank you for being not only a gracious professor in leading us to France but guiding us along the way, giving us guidance and knowledge but also letting us go off and experience the culture on our own. It’s been an experience i’ll forever be grateful for and i couldn’t have asked for a better group, au revoir!

Alaina Steensma
Study Abroad – France 2018 @ FLCC

World Languages @ FLCC: France Study Abroad 2018

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