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University of Missouri

New year, new language

Filed in Blog, France by on January 12, 2018
by Kathryn M.

This semester I have traded in my university in the middle of Missouri for a grand adventure in a big city — 4,699 miles away. My new life in Lyon, France comes with many challenges like getting used to the transit systems, making new friends and acclimating to a new university. One of the reasons that I wanted to study abroad will also be one of my biggest challenges — the language.

I have been taking French classes for five and a half years now, and after arriving I am at an odd intersection of knowing more than I thought I would and not quite knowing enough. I have been able to naviagte two airports in French and haven’t had any problem ordering food or even buying insurance with people who do not speak English.

However, my host family does not know English, so I am constantly searching for vocabulary words from years ago or ones that I’ve never learned and sentence structures that they can understand. Also, to add onto that, the other student living in the house is Japanese. So, when she and I talk we have to get over our own hurdles and accents to speak in French and then try to understand each other’s French.

As my classes (taught completely in French) begin to start and I will soon start to make French friends, I am very anxious, but I am mostly excited.

I know that this semester will come with so many challenges, but I know that it will also be filled with so much growth and success. I am excited to not only watch my language skills improve, but also to watch myself grow and improve as a result of this experience.

View from a window through iron bars of the city of Lyon.

Vieux Lyon (old Lyon) and Belle Cour (the heart of the city).

About the blogger

Kathryn M. is studying abroad at the Université Jean Moulin-Lyon III in Lyon, France.

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