Aero: Kelsey Castro – France 2015 – Epilogue


Aero: Kelsey Castro – France 2015 – Epilogue
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Kelsey Castro – France 2015 – Epilogue


Kelsey Castro

While this trip to France was an excellent way for me to learn about international travel, and the dynamics of a foreign culture, it was also a great way for me to introspect and learn a lot about myself as a person. Sometimes it takes being removed from your native environment and comfort zone to gain true self-awareness. I had many doubts about my abilities to successfully travel internationally and complete all of the events of the trip. I have struggled with some health problems for many years, which have limited my ability to live life to the fullest and experience new things. I have always been nervous about traveling too far from my home and family because of this. I have been much healthier in recent years (I was in the hospital quite a bit in high school) but I was still nervous about my health while in France. By deciding to partake in this travel experience, I made the choice to not let “what ifs” hold me back from doing things in life that I really want to do. I learned that I have the ability to do almost anything if it is something that I really want, and work hard for. This was an important lesson for me to learn, and has helped to erase much of the self-doubt that has clouded my thoughts for many years. I learned that while new experiences can be scary, they are also often fun and exciting. I had never stayed with a host family before and was really worried about how I would fit in with them. I have mentioned this in many other articles, but I was also extremely worried about what I would eat while I was in France. Now that I have actually experienced those situations, I have realized that I can handle a lot more than I gave myself credit for.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

I think that I also gained a lot of perspective about myself as a “global citizen” rather than only seeing myself as an American. Of course, I am an American and always will be, but I am also part of something bigger. Until one travels outside of the United States, it can be very easy to forget about the rest of the world. Part of this is due to how large our country is compared to most European countries. We don’t have the luxury of taking weekend trips to foreign countries, like many people in Europe do. I can recall one specific experience on the trip that really made me feel like a global citizen. We were at the Musée d’Orsay, and given permission to break up and then meet back at the entrance. I was by myself, walking through the Impressionist gallery amongst a crowd of strangers from all over the world. I heard many different languages being spoken. I realized that, unless I spoke, no one could have known if I was American, British, French, German, Russian, etc. It was a really eye-opening experience for me. Of course, I may be overestimating my abilities to blend in. I was wearing hiking boots, which was probably a clear indicator of my nationality to the French. Disregarding my footwear, however, in that moment I felt more like a global citizen than I ever have in the past. There are so many different people, cultures, and languages on our planet, and all of them are just as important as the rest.

Sometimes I really question my place and purpose in life. I am 21 years old and often feel like I need to have everything figured out by now. I think this trip has given me enough perspective to realize that these things will eventually come naturally, as long as I am working hard and doing my best. There are so many new things to see and experience in life. I am so grateful that I decided to take the leap and go to France during my last semester at FLCC. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience that I will remember for the remainder of my life.

Kelsey Castro
LEAF Contributor