Travel is something everyone is dying to get out and do, but we all make 1,000 excuses of why we specifically can't go anywhere. Travel is not just for an elite, untouchable bunch. It's for you, and it's for me. It's for anyone with the passion and drive to JUST GO!
I'm going to introduce you to a number of ladies in this series, not so different from you and I, who took the leap and are living out the most amazing lives abroad.
They aren't just dreaming it, they made it happen, and we hope to show you that you can too!
More Life Abroad: Kristen in Thailand
Life Abroad; Mellie In France
- Today we're speaking with Mellie, originally from Mississippi, USA. She hadn't been an avid traveler before her study abroad experience, so it was a big step for her to up and move away from home for a period of time! She fell in love with France, as you'll soon learn, and is hoping to head back after she graduates in May.
"Most days after school when the weather was nice, we'd pick up a few bottles of wine and head to our favorite park. We'd sit there for hours, laying in the grass, chatting, listening to music. It was perfect."
Hi Mellie, thanks so much for chatting with me today. I'm excited to hear all about your time studying abroad! Tell me, where were you located?
I was in Angers, France. The university recommended it, and I had heard positive stories from past students, so I figured it'd be great!
Leaving home is hard! And I know this was your first time really traveling, right? What was it that made you take the leap into going abroad?
I had never been abroad before studying In Angers (I studied there one summer, and the following spring semester). I really just wanted to experience something new. I was terrified at first, but I had an awesome friend who enrolled in the same program, and we tackled France together.
"If you're scared, don't be. Pack your bags and just go. "
I want to hear more about Angers! What are the best, most authentic locations to hit?
The main attraction in Angers is an awesome medieval castle. It's located right in the center of the city, and is huge. One of my favorite things to do was sit underneath it in the afternoon, bring a picnic, drink some wine.
There is also a river that runs right through the middle of time, there are green, beautiful parks next to it. There's also a David d'Angers sculpture museum, and a museum that holds the world's oldest/largest apocalypse tapestry, if you're into that.
What do you do for fun in Angers?
Most days after school when the weather was nice, we'd pick up a few bottles of wine and head to our favorite park. We'd sit there for hours, laying in the grass, chatting, listening to music. It was perfect.
At night we'd go to our favorite bars (we even made friends with one of the bartenders and got free drinks all the time, so obviously this was our favorite--Soft bar) with our French and American friends after pre-gaming at our apartment.
We lived in the center of town above a cute little bakery, so everyone was always at our place. It was perfect. Sometimes when we were feeling more adventurous, we'd head over to our favorite night club, which just happens to be on a boat in the river that runs through town.
And what would you say was the your biggest culture shock?
Honestly, just the different language. It was very difficult to do daily tasks at first, and I was a bit self-conscious when trying to communicate with people. It took some time getting used to everything, but other than that, everything was really a breeze.
How would you describe the people of the France? How are they different from people at home in the USA?
The French can sometimes come off as a bit harsh, especially to foreigners. It takes a bit of time to crack them, but once you do, they are super friendly and very caring. I met some of my very best friends in France and still communicate with them often.
And of course we need to know, where else did you visit while in Europe? Did you have a list of must-visit destinations?
We took an awesome spring break trip for two weeks. We started at the south of France, stopping at Nice and Monaco, then traveled to Italy where we visited Genoa, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Triste.
After that we headed to Croatia, stopping in the capital Zagreb, and went to one of the most beautiful national parks, Plitvice Lakes (this was honestly one of the most amazing places that I've ever been), and ended in Split.
Then, we headed to London, only to stay for one day, and fly to Mykonos in Greece. Greece was so cheap and we ended up staying at a resort-like hotel, with our own private beach. We ended the trip in Athens, and even had the chance to go sailing one day.
That spring break, by far, was the best trip of my life. We also visited, Amsterdam and Berlin- both were super cool.
I think travel is something everyone wants to do more, but finds a million reasons they cant go. Do you have any wise, experienced words for that bunch?
Whatever the excuse is, you can always go. I was always afraid of the insane amount of money I would be spending, but there are many ways to travel on a budget. I've never regretted spending money when traveling; it has always been so much more than worth it. Also, if you're still young, this is the perfect time to go! Find ways to travel when you're young, because you might not have the opportunity when you're older!
Lastly, any tips you have regarding studying abroad, or getting up and taking the first step towards your travel dreams?
- If you're curious, just go meet with your study abroad advisor and look at your options.
- If you're scared, don't be. Pack your bags and just go.
Studying abroad in Angers was the best experience of my life, and I am still trying to find ways to go back and live there once again
We wish you all the best with finding your way back to France Mellie! Seems like you and that french wine were meant to be!
The Quick List
All Mellie's recommendations in one spot!
There are many more Life Abroad posts to come! Follow along to always know when new posts go live.
Loved the post? Pin the image to share with friends!
Mellie covered some serious European ground while studying abroad! Is there anywhere she missed that you would recommend?