France Semester Abroad

Ma Vie en France / My Life in France

April 28, 2015

My semester abroad in Lille, France has been filled with unforgettable memories, new international friends, and exciting additions to my post card collection. I can’t tell you how fast these five months have flown by, not to mention I’m now a college senior…not sure when that happened so quickly.


View from my apartment window to the ever rainy Lille.

I mentioned in my About Me that I started a blog called Mon Petit Voyage to showcase my study abroad experience to my friends and family. I blogged about the places I’ve been, shared pictures of the amazing things Europe has to offer, and travel tips along the way. I’m so not ready to leave yet! Good thing I will be trying to hold on to every last moment of it through Mon Grand Voyage! 

After almost six months in a different country, you start to get accustomed to the small cultural differences. And actually start to like them. I stumbled across an article from My French Life and I’d say it hits the nail right on the head about “30 ways you know you are becoming more French.” Let me call attention to a few of them:

1. You have issues typing on a french keyboard. 

Sometimes when I’ve been using Augustin’s computer for awhile I forget how to type on my computer. It’s the misplaced M and A that kill me, never mind having to caps lock just to use numbers.

2. You stop hugging and understand the importance of la bise. 

Kissing cheeks in place of hugging has started to become a habit. I will probably carry that home with me and things might get awkward.

3. You believe having dinner at 6:30pm is an atrocity. 

Ain’t that the truth! A normal dinner for me was usually around 6pm, but consider that a lost cause now. Dinner should be at 7:30pm. If you have a problem with late night snacking, consider this to be your solution.

4. You consider bread a utensil to eating other things.

I’m convinced that bread to the average French person is not really considered food. It doesn’t go on a plate, you actually use your hands to eat it (unlike everything else including chicken wings) and you clean your plate with it. Not complaining though.

Complete side note, one of the funniest things Augustin has done to date is casually throwing a baguette in the back of his car like it was a pencil and then looked at me like I was the weird one for laughing. About peed myself.

5. Your English no longer sounds correct.

Living with a French has definitely influenced this one- although there is nothing wrong when he says it.

6. You know French slang.

Also crediting Augustin and his boys for this one, including words I should have never learned.

7. You know that an acceptable answer to a question is shrugging your shoulders and saying bof.

It really is a thing. I’ve used this one way more than I probably should have. It comes in incredible handy when you have no idea what people are saying to you.

8. You think calling someone a flea or a cabbage is cute.

Classic. Normal names of affection also include: rabbit, chicken, star, lion, tiger, and casserole dish. This one is my personal favorite-ma cocotte.

If I had to add a few more things to the list, it would include having an aperitif which is normally champagne or another alcohol that is suppose to stimulate your appetite before the meal. Getting used to the relaxed attitude of the general public-including government agencies, universities, banks-pretty much everything that is important. Don’t worry, they will get your problems figured out eventually. And last, and certainly not the only thing that can be added, is the importance of coins. Because the Euro starts at a 5€ paper bill, you better invest in a coin purse for your 1€ and 2€ coins.

In the beginning of the semester, most of those things were strange to me even having prior knowledge of French culture, but they are now a part of my life. Whether I will continue to use them after leaving or not, I can now say that I have (slightly) become French. Santé to that!

You Might Also Like

  • Flea? Cabbage? Bof? Casserole dish? I’m so confused… Haha