Going Abroad: Expectations vs Reality

Liuba Miranosava ’20 is a junior accounting major and French minor at Elizabethtown College. She is working towards her CPA licensing and hopes to work at a public accounting firm in the future. She chose to study abroad in Strasbourg, France so she would have the opportunity to stay with a host family. Her time in France has helped her to learn to let go of expectations.

Arriving in Strasbourg, felt exactly how Liuba expected it to be. She ate baguettes, passed men playing the accordion on the street, and drank espresso at corner cafes. The beginning of her time in Strasbourg felt like the French fantasy she has been dreaming about. Then the language barrier hit her.

Even though she had received good grades in her French classes, she could barely say hello after arriving in France. When speaking with her host mother, she made mistakes, including telling her American food has a lot of condoms in it instead of additives. Liuba realized learning a new language abroad is not the same as memorizing vocabulary for a test. You constantly have to think on your feet and focus completely on what others are saying.

Liuba had heard stories about studying abroad. When people tell stories they only tell the good parts, leading to Liuba having high expectations. She soon realized that studying abroad is what you make of it. Some days can be frustrating. For example, Liuba wanted to rent a bike one day. After getting trapped in the Botanical Garden, walking to two stations to find they were self-service instead of a shop, reaching a shop just to find out they were sold out, and finally reaching her last chance shop in the rain just to find out they didn’t accept credit card, Liuba was frustrated. Looking back, it was inconvenient, but a lesson on determination ,which she’ll likely always remember.

As she awaits the coming months of her time in France, she is excited to see what comes. She has a list of things to do and is looking forward to making development in her language skills and self-discovery.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the Strasbourg, France program and to read Liuba’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on October 7, 2018.

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