Thought your year abroad was going to be the perfect dream? Think again. (P.S: can you tell how much I’m loving my Year Abroad?)
Expectation: You think you’re going to make loads of cool, foreign friends. Who needs your home friends when you have all these interesting, PURE BREED French people to hang out with? Plus, it’s a great way to improve your language!
Reality: You eventually realise that people already have their friendship groups, and they don’t want a temporary, year long friend to join their clique. So instead, you become overwhelmed with excitement as soon as you hear somebody speaking English, and always run to the nearest pub-esque drinking establishment.
Expectation : You’re going to date so many exciting new people. Foreign boys are far more romantic than English boys, so you will probably have a boyfriend 3 months in. But will you be able to make long-distance work when you return home? You’ll just have to cross that bridge when you get to it. Always remember : if it’s meant to be, it will be.
Reality: You get leered at by all the creepy men, but nobody normal will ever ask you for your phone number. Single for another year it is then…
Expectation: Naturally, you are confident you’ll be fluent in the language of your new home. Watching Amélie in A-Level French that one time was definitely enough preparation. In fact, you’ll probably even forget how to speak English by the end of the year.
Reality: Nobody understands you, and it isn’t just because of your poor accent – you generally tend to make zero sense. Reality eventually hits that becoming fluent in a language is a lot harder than you thought. Whilst at first you are determined to make sense of all the grammar and improving your accent, you’ll eventually just give up and point to things on the menu instead.
Expectation: You’re going to be extra busy, and in a group of friends all of the time. As a result, you’ll barely have a second alone, but you’ll love it.
Reality: You’ll be alone – a lot. But it’s okay, you’ll come to enjoy it.
Expectation: You’re going to be so cultured, visiting every single corner of your new city and then some! There’s so much more to Paris than the Eiffel tower and you’re going to make sure you find everything possible. No street will be ignored, as obviously there’s history everywhere.
Reality: You’re too tired. You go outside the said location and take a picture, and then decide you’ve had enough of being Dora the Explorer for the day. But of course, you’ll post your pics on Instagram with the location tagged, waiting for the likes to roll in. What your fans don’t know won’t hurt them…
Expectation: Why stop at seeing the sights in your city? EXPLORE! Take a cheap flight, it’s only 20 euro to get to the other side of Europe. Vive EasyJet!
Reality: You’re poor. You’ve hit the biggest financial low of your entire student life. Your Erasmus grant barely covers your ridiculous shoe box of an apartment, and you’ve spent 80% of your student loan on baguettes and overpriced cocktails.
Expectation: You’re only going to have the cuisine of your new city, no other food will suffice. You must have the real experience!
Reality: You’ll have your snails and onion soup a grand total of ONE time. After that, the one Dominos in the whole town, and that lovely Italian at the bottom of your road, will be your most frequented dining establishments.
Expectation: Your year abroad, whilst great, probably won’t change you at all.
Reality: It may seem like a bunch of insignificant events all in the space of 10 months, but it’s likely that you’ll end up learning more about yourself than you thought.