I was looking forward to traveling a lot while I was in France because it is so centrally located in Europe, but I was nervous because I did not know how to speak French. I was also worried that staying abroad for a year would set me back with my classes and that I would not be able to graduate on time. This, however, was not the case and I was even able to get a double major, double minor and graduate in four years.
Lyon is the second largest city in France. It was my first time living in a big city, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. There is always something going on – lots of restaurants, places to go at night, different universities and I could walk everywhere I needed to go! There are also Roman coliseums and amphitheatres in the city, so it’s cool to walk down the street and see ancient ruins. Students get a discount everywhere they go, so make sure you keep your International Student Identification Card with you.
There are no on-campus dorms in Lyon, but there is an apartment list where you can find apartments off-campus. When I arrived, I was able to find an apartment quickly and get set up. My apartment had Internet access, a phone and a kitchen where we would all have dinner parties about 2 or 3 times a week. About ¾ of the students that lived in the apartments were international students who all spoke English and we all got along well and hung out together.
The classes were taught in English, but most of the classes were in the French style of teaching. My classes were lectures that had a big project due at the end of the semester. Some of my professors were international professors, so they had a more interactive style of teaching. It was nice to know that you just had to pass your classes and the grades you got in those classes would not transfer back, just the credits. This made my year abroad less stressful.
I studied abroad for a whole year and then I even stayed the summer after my second semester to work and travel. I traveled to the Basque country, Catalonia in Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and I even went to the Oktoberfest in Germany. I was also able to take long weekend trips and travel all around France. I met my boyfriend (now my fiancé) in France, so I was able to go to different family functions with him and see a lot more of the French culture. I also traveled around with the different international students I lived with and some of my friends came to visit me, so I traveled with them as well. It was great to be close to so many different places and see so many different cultures.