I had a lot of preconceived notions about France from hearing other peoples’ experiences. For the most part I was wrong about my initial expectations and stereotypes about the country and its people. I traveled a lot beforehand so I was already somewhat acclaimed to being in a different country. I wasn’t expecting how intimidating it would be to try to speak french. I was also surprised by the pure beauty of every corner of the country. I knew France would be beautiful, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so stunning.
I really appreciated how everyone in France cares about their appearance, no matter where they are. Peoples’ appearance and elegance was the biggest difference I saw between France and the United States. I also was more aware of how loud I was in public compared to others. In America I am just one of the many amplified voices. In France, I could notice my volume a lot more which made me stand out. I also felt a little unsafe while in France so I truly listened to my gut and made sure I was aware of my surroundings. I am very careful by nature but being in France really put my awareness at the forefront. I also realized that I am a lot more cynical than I thought I was. Being in a different country forced me to put my guard up but sometimes it was hard for me to talk to anyone without questioning their motives.
My favorite experience was exploring the south of France and its beautiful landscape. I have never been to a destination as special as Cannes and I am so grateful I got to experience this. Everyone in Cannes seemed very put together, which was surprising for me since most tourist vacation spots in the US don’t have the same elegant atmosphere.
One of my biggest takeaways from this trip was my hunger to be more curious and dive into different cultures. Even though there are a lot of unexpected challenges while traveling, the experience is worth it all. The Perisain culture, like any culture, has a lot of pros and cons but the important takeaway was learning about how other people live and taking aspects of their life to implement in mine.
Moving forward, I want to take what I enjoyed from France and live my life in a more worldly manner. I think it’s so important to be culturally aware and now I have experience with other cultures and having reverence for the way other people live their lives. This trip has shaped me and widened my perspective. I am so glad I had this experience has forced me to look beyond my self and be open to new ideas and habits.