I’m beyond happy that I decided to participate in InterExchange’s English Conversation Coach France program before starting graduate school. It was an amazing opportunity to live like a local, explore Paris, and challenge misconceptions.
My host family was wonderful! I felt welcomed in their home and they included me in their daily lives. Recently, we went ornament shopping and decorated their Christmas tree together.
While I didn’t visit every arrondissement in the city as I had planned, I saw a ton of museums, walked through several beautiful parks, and enjoyed the café culture and shops. Although most tourists visit France in the summer, I’m so happy I decided to come in the fall when there are fewer visitors. Besides witnessing the beautiful change of seasons, the lines to major attractions were much shorter!
The ability to live and interact with locals on a daily basis challenged my assumption that the French might be rude or snobbish. While shopping in a boutique one day, the sales associate and I ended up having a conversation for an hour! We discussed the similarities and differences between our countries in politics, fashion, and everyday life. Conversations such as these helped me see that the French are easy-going and incredibly open-minded. I found the people here to be warm and kind and surprisingly easy to befriend.
I feel enormously blessed to have been able to live here for two months and for being placed with such a great host family. A cultural exchange like the English Conversation Coach program opens your heart and mind to all the people in the world. You’ll realize that people are much more similar than different and that it is our small differences that make life interesting.
I recommend anyone thinking about a Teach English Abroad program to go for it. You’ll never get another experience on your own that will give you an immense amount of freedom and push you to be independent and truly learn about yourself. The saying is true: the world is your classroom. Just do it!