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Just over two weeks ago I said au revoir to the land of pastries, excellent wine and mind-numbing beurocracy. It was probably the best experience of my life as well as the weirdest, and I wouldn't change it for a thing. Yes, it really has taken me 2 weeks to finally sit down and write this post but I think I had forgotten how fast-paced and crazy London life is; I had grown accustomed to lazing by the Rhône River for hours on end in the glorious sunshine and taking leisurely walks through the quiet streets of Avignon. Getting on the tube for the first time almost had me hyperventilating and the sheer amount of people on the streets just completely threw me. Although I had anticipated a little bit of rest on my arrival, I realised that I essentially had come 'back to reality'; before I knew it, I was reading through various work proposals for university and was preparing for a job interview, driving theory test and internship, which is what I'm doing now. Hence I haven't really had any time to actually process the fact that I have come back from a country that I spent 7 months of my life in. Although in the grand scheme of things 7 months isn't a long time at all, the amount of things that can happen in even 1 month or just a week is phenomenal. I will always remember the time I spent in France and although it sounds majorly cliché, I have changed as a person (in all the right ways, I hope!) How? There are so many things you learn whilst living abroad. You learn about a new culture, a new language and a new way of life that many people different from yourself follow. You learn how to try new things and how to say 'yes'. You learn to become confident, not just in yourself but in others - you learn how to take a little bit of a risk and put your faith into decisions. You learn how to be brave and how to face and get over an array of different challenges. You learn how to face things by yourself, without the help of others. You learn how to adapt. You learn about history, politics, relationships, work, the environment, society. You learn that you are stronger than you ever realised. You learn that there are things that you never knew you struggled with so much. You learn about the world as a whole and you learn a whole lot about yourself. So with that being said, all this knowledge, all this experience gradually shapes and moulds you into someone that can look at the world in a new light and is confident, open-minded, aware, enraptured, bold and inspired. This is how it changes you. There are highs and lows but even the lows are so important for your self-growth. When I look back now, I laugh because during the whole application process there was a voice in the back of my head constantly saying, 'why are you doing this? You don't have to.' And although this voice wouldn't shut up, for some reason I just kept going - it was almost like I forced myself to make the choice of going to France. Throughout the summer I was incredibly anxious; the unease lingered below the surface and every now and again it would stir things up in my stomach and I'd be reminded of what a seemingly stupid journey I was about to embark on. The night before I left I was trying so hard to stay positive and focused but my excitement was tinged with fear. I know that all of this was completely normal but it still wasn't very nice to deal with! Settling in was long and difficult but once that was over...well, you guys know how much I came to love my time in France. I loved it. But I didn't love it because it was perfect, I loved it for exactly what it was - a challenging, terrifying, amazing and ridiculous period of time. I was out there to teach English to kids but with so much extra time on my hands, there were countless hours of learning and room for experiences. The teaching was intense, though. If you'd have asked me 2 years ago to stand in front of 30 French kids and teach them a foreign language with no experience, I would have laughed. But I like kids and I like the subject I study - English - so sometimes trying out paths that involve a combination of your passions is a good thing. I've discovered that although I probably won't live in France or even teach in France, I'd be quite happy to teach in England (although later on in life.) You've got to try things to find out whether or not you like them, after all. And this brings me to the whole comfort zone thing, something I promote and love to talk about. Nothing happens when you stay in your comfort zone. Sure, nothing bad can happen, but nothing good can happen either, and that means you're simply stagnant...forever. But if you step outside, if you take that risk, there may be pitfalls but there will also be experiences that will enrich your life in a way you never expected. Before I get way too slushy (past that point already, perhaps?) I'd just like to say that I couldn't recommend living abroad more, even if it's just for a few months. If you've been wanting to go abroad and study or work, even for just a few weeks, but you haven't been totally sure, I'd say just go for it. GO FOR IT. You really have nothing to lose but everything to gain. I could speak about it all night but I will be putting up a YouTube video soon on my experience and going into a bit more detail about life in France and my actual job, so stay tuned for that! If you have followed my France posts then I hope you enjoyed reading them and I'm glad you got to share a little bit of a huge part of my life! I'm not gonna lie, I do feel so strange to be back in England and there are many things I miss about France but I'm just going to look back on the whole experience and be grateful. Really, truly grateful.

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