Aero: Jason Palmer – France 2015 – Expectations


Aero: Jason Palmer – France 2015 – Expectations
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Jason Palmer – France 2015 – Expectations


Jason Palmer

Living in a foreign country will be very different as compared to living in the United States.  We grow accustomed to our daily routine and rarely actually have to think.  We simply go through the motions.  We encounter people every day who speak the same language, live the same way and generally have the same feelings.

We as a society in America, have grown accustomed to “bigger is better”, we enjoy large houses, large rooms, and large TV’s.  I am writing this after our trip to France.   The living conditions that I encountered are not that much different that what we have here in the United States.  The flat that I had the pleasure of staying in, while in Rennes, had all of the comforts that we have here.  The size of the flat was rather larger in comparison to what I believed a one person flat would be.  The only difference in technology that I found while traveling to France was the inability to consistently be connected to Wi-Fi, or the Internet.  We take it for granted how easily we can connect and it is commonplace anymore as compared to a luxury.  It was rather nice, not being able to connect and simply enjoy the country, culture and people for the limited time that I was there.

The school system that I was able to partake in was similar, yet different to the high schools that we have here in the United States.  A normal school day starts at 8:20 and can last as late as 6pm.  The school was a cross between high school and college.  These students had the opportunity to take classes in subjects that we were not exposed to in high school, therefore giving them quite an advantage when applying for college.

Travelling to a foreign country without the ability to speak the native language was a definite disadvantage for me.  I luckily had fellow students that spoke some French.  We were provided a notebook that contained many phrases and sayings so that we were able to communicate at least somewhat effectively while traveling.  I did end up realizing that many people were able to speak at least limited English while in France.  I tried the best I could to communicate in French and was able to survive by the end of two weeks.  I do feel that as a sign of respect, many shop owners truly appreciated that we were at least attempting to communicate in their native language.  I did encounter many people who spoke English and made no attempt whatsoever to try to speak French.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

The vast majority of everyone that I met in France were truly wonderful.  A beautiful country completely immersed in delicious food, friendly people, and rich in history.   I was nervous as a first timer traveling overseas as to what I would encounter.  The weeks preceding our departure were riddled with anticipation, excitement, sadness that I would be leaving my family for two weeks and wonder.  The reality of it all started sinking in as we left our home in Geneva and headed to the airport in Rochester.  I gave my wife a goodbye hug and kiss, checked my luggage and headed for our plane.  It felt surreal as Professor Kruger said in an email that although our trip is 4 months away.  It was today already!  The plane rides were exceptionally smooth and we landed in Paris at 6:55am.  I expected to see and hear all about the history of Europe, and remember what we were taught in our history books in school.

We had to travel by train, metro (their version of the subway) and personal vehicle.  Prior to our departure, I wasn’t sure as to what modes of transportation were used.  I assumed there would be a subway, and there was.  I knew that we were staying in Paris for a week and assumed that our rooms would be what we are accustomed to here in the U.S.  The room was significantly smaller, which was fine with me due to the fact that I was rarely in there, and used it only to crash.  I was not looking, to spend more time than was necessary there, we were in France!  It was time to explore, learn, struggle, test yourself and find out what you are made of.

Jason Palmer
LEAF Contributor