Group of friends around a table

Learning About Myself and My Abilities

Lucy Zorzano Barnard '20

It feels good, and gives me confidence in myself, to know that I can move to another city, country, and continent and make a life for myself there in just four months.

In the months after being accepted to Reid Hall, my excitement about living in a place completely foreign to me grew and grew. In the week before my departure, however, I began to worry. Nervousness, anxiety, and sadness began to grow inside of me, to the point where I almost didn’t even want to go anymore. The reality of what I was about to do was finally hitting me; I was going to be gone, in a different country, on a different continent, for four months. A country to which I had never traveled before, in which I knew no one, and whose language I was not confident speaking. I felt unprepared for the journey I was about to embark on, I kicked myself for not reviewing my french over the summer. My family’s cautionary tales of being pickpocketed in Europe and the list of documents I needed to have intimidated me. The fact that once I got on that plane, I was not going to see my parents or be able to go home until December terrified me. I never thought of myself as a homebody or someone who got homesick easily, but knowing that I would not have the option to go home if I started to miss it terrified me. I left with a sense of panic in me, anticipating what the next few months had in store.

Once I arrived in Paris, my panic, anxiety, and fear disappeared. By the second day, I found myself wandering around Parisian streets near the Eiffel Tower in pure awe of everything around me. I felt proud that I had successfully made it to Paris and gotten settled in with my host family, the ease of it all surprised me.

What Paris did have in store for me was a collection of unforgettable experiences, so many laughs, and friends that will last me a lifetime. Before my time abroad, I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the french language. I had only been taking it for two years and I felt as if I would never be able to fully comprehend or speak it with ease. After being immersed for four months, and making friends with a wonderful group of french guys, my passion for the french language and culture grew immensely. I truly fell in love with the French and I realized I had never been happier.

Paris taught me a lot about myself and my abilities. It feels good, and gives me confidence in myself, to know that I can move to another city, country, and continent and make a life for myself there in just four months. When it came time to leave, I felt as if I was becoming a real Parisian; I had french friends and listened to french music and went to french parties. I didn’t want to leave my new life and I certainly did not know how I would go back to my old life after having this experience. I am grateful for the great memories and lifelong friendships that Reid Hall has provided me with and I cannot wait to return to Paris in the near future. I could not have imagined the joy that this experience would bring me in my wildest dreams.