Before leaving for France, everyone who had been on their year abroad said more or less the same thing: it’s an amazing experience not to be missed out on. While in Grenoble I realised why.
Doing the ERASMUS exchange was a great opportunity to meet international students from all over the world. I engaged with a different kind of university life, where I was able to learn so much more about people from different backgrounds.
I took the opportunity to give new things a go. I’d never really walked up a mountain nor been to an Women’s National Sufi Gathering before, but I thought they were worth a try and I didn’t regret it. Some of my adventures helped me to overcome some little fears I had, since I was more open to exploration and discovery. I also found that spending time in French friends’ houses brought me closer to daily life in France, and it was a great chance to soak up some French attitudes and political perspectives.
I made great friends from all over the world, and in particular, a married couple who were expecting their first child. I’d found a new family and learnt so much about early parenthood, spirituality and myself during long evenings and afternoons together over tea and cakes. I saw enough beauty and good character to inspire me in my own life and to take what I learnt forward.
The year abroad was a time where I questioned my own values, principles and my relationship with them. I realised that the journey, regardless of which country or which language, is ultimately to return home and hopefully with a clearer sense of truth and beauty.