Aero: Ayla Sandifur – France 2015 – Epilogue
Aero: Ayla Sandifur – France 2015 – Epilogue
During this experience, I have had the time to learn a lot about myself that I would have never learned before if it wasn’t for this trip. I don’t believe there is a better way to get to know yourself than to just travel. Traveling anywhere gives you the chance to experience many things, but it’s almost a time of self-reflection and change. Once you travel, each experience affects you in various ways. Sometimes change is for the better and it does benefit many different aspects of your life and who you are.
After participating in this experience, I definitely value traveling so much more than I did before. I spent two weeks in France, and there is still so much I haven’t seen and experienced. I learned after the first couple of nights in Paris, I am more independent than I have ever given myself credit for. I also learned that I need to stop being scared of trying new things because I won’t get the most out of life if I spend it just being scared. That’s no way to live and you can’t find happiness when you keep a guard up. Living in fear is not living at tall. I realized and learned as well on this trip, friendship means more to me than it ever has before. If it wasn’t for bonding with these girls on the trip, I don’t know how I would have survived living in a foreign country for two weeks. It would have felt so lonely and I would have been more home sick if I didn’t have the support of the other girls to pull me through. I think I also found my adventurous side and my timid/shy side of me has kind of disappeared. I really believe a person doesn’t know what they are made of until they are put to the test. Honestly, I had to really step it up and starting speaking up for myself. This experience gave me the big push I needed to grow out of my confining shell. I feel like I can really grow and develop as a person into who I really am and who I am meant to be in life. I have gained so much knowledge about the country I was living in, but I also gained more knowledge about myself and what I am really capable of accomplishing. I definitely think I can do absolutely anything now.
This experience affected both my behaviors and attitudes more than I had planned for it to. I am absolutely never a morning person, but there is something about waking up with the sun in the sky, blue skies and birds chipping at 7 in the morning. Even when we were staying at the hotel for the first four days, I felt so refreshed walking up so early. Somehow the noise of the construction didn’t bother me and the streets being busy at night helped me sleep. Every morning I would wake up, get out of bed and open the windows. Something about the fresh air really made me feel refreshed and energetic in a way. Also, during this trip, I tried so hard to maintain a good attitude and I did with no problem. This was a time where I did not want to be cranky or miserable. I was going to be there for two weeks and I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to go back. I wanted to make the absolute best of time while I was there. There were definitely some points where I wanted to just sleep or needed to relax for a minute but more than anything I really needed to push myself. I didn’t want to lose time from seeing Paris and Vitrè or Normandy what so ever. Pushing my body did my body good in a way as well. My body was able to exceed limits that it did not think it could exceed.
This experience and participating has really changed how I think of myself as a global citizen. I am more aware of surrounding cultures and what other countries have sacrificed and gone through. I learned more in terms of history and culture than I ever could have sitting in a classroom. I have now had firsthand experience living with a French family to learn a basic daily routine of a French student and I was able to sit in a French class and now can compare the differences between American and French classes and schools. In my personal opinion, I didn’t have any bad experiences during this trip. I never got lost, or had any cases of an emergency. If anything, I just had a lot of stupid moments that I can look back and laugh at as time goes on. One interesting experience I had on this trip, which was entertaining for everyone is my hand swelling up from an allergic reaction and what caused it is still unknown. This experience was everything I wanted and hoped it would be plus more. I never thought it was going to go so well. Before we left, I was over thinking everything and wondering what I would do if I couldn’t find my way to the hotel, or if I got lost and can’t get anyone to understand me. But I learned, fear is my biggest monster and if I could fight that I would be fine and I was. I never got lost, never needed to call home and I came back home in one piece. I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience and I wouldn’t want to have experienced this with anyone else other than these girls and Professor Kruger and Professor VanEtten.