Arriving in France was intimidating and exciting. It was something I had been looking forward to for what felt like forever. I learned about the program in the Fall of 2010, and decided I wanted to do it. It wasn’t until March 2011 that I got my application in, and then I was accepted in April. Living in France had been an idea in my head before I had even heard of the Assistant Program. I always knew I wanted to try living in another country, hopefully a European country. My first trip to Italy in 2007 made me fall in love with the challenge and inspiring feeling of travelling, that just makes you look at everything with new eyes. It takes you out of your comfort zone and reminds you that you can step out of your day to day routine. I loved the seeing the history and art that I’ve learned about in Art History up close. And probably most of all I loved the food. Italian food has to be one of the best cuisines in the world. The freshness of each fruit was like nothing I ever realized fruit could be. It was like candy. The amazing pastas and vegetables and sauces and seafood were always so fresh and created with love and expertise. There was another world of cheeses. Espresso in the morning with fruit and yogurt was divine. I loved my time there as well because our daily routine consisted of waking up early, delicious breakfast including fruit and espresso, beach + sun till noon, amazing homecooked huge lunch, siesta, afternoon activity or more beach, then huge dinner that lingered for hours, sometimes outside on a patio overlooking the beach.
After that first trip I was lucky enough to be able to come back to Europe and travel again with my sister. We visited many cities including Paris and Nice, and I realized that I loved France. One of the reasons I saw myself living in France was probably because I speak the language. Growing up for a lot of my life in Quebec, I learned French in school, but didn’t have much practice since some many people in Quebec are so bilingual that it made it easy to just communicate in my native language. But I was and am still determined to improve my French because I want to be one of those bilingual people. So I researched away and found the Assistant Program and figured it was the perfect way to get the opportunity to live in France. I would have employment as an English Teaching Assistant in High Schools or Lycees in France for 7 months.
So after all of the application and acceptance process was over, and a Summer of many hours of work to save up to get here, I had arrived. It hit me that I was alone and couldn’t go back to my family for at least 7 months. It was a weird feeling. But as I explored the city of Nantes, stumbled upon a beautiful castle in the middle of the city, explored cobblestone Bouffay filled with restaurants, tried goat cheese galettes (Breton buckwheat crepes) and ate pastries and coffee in the park with a new assistant friend, I felt like I could get used to this.