As one might expect, yes, things have changed for me. Perspectives, attitudes, thought processes and ideas of normalcy. I am still in 1/8 French mode. French phrases still come to mind before English phrases, I crave a good baguette and cheese after eating a meal, and I look at streets and feel like the other side might as well be on the other side of the Grand Canyon. These are all good and excellent things. But how about some other things? Didn't I take anything other than that away from this? Sure I did. Here are a few that come to mind first.
The most drastic change for me has been my desire to engage with the international students who are doing what I was doing, only here at WSU. Apparently once you actually have those foreign friends, that diversity, it gets into you. I can honestly say that I have never had a diverse group of friends in my life. And in France I finally did. Now that I'm back and lacking that amazing difference in perspective and life experience, I am finding that I want it again. This is something that I really like. Besides being enriching personally, as an international business major it definitely benefits me to have a taste of this international flavor of people, lives and perspectives consistently. There are not a lot of places that make it much easier to meet cool people from cool places than WSU. I am still looking for a French speaker to practice with though. Apparently they are difficult to find here in small town USA.
Another change I have found is that I have found a new sense of drive in my work here. After a semester of taking classes in a foreign language, suddenly taking classes in English is no big deal. Plus I have had some international exposure, giving me a taste of what I might be doing later on in my life (or what I'd like to be doing). The enjoyability of this experience gives a reason to work hard because I know that I'm working towards something that I know I will enjoy. The language change plays a large role as well simply because the ease of doing readings has increased exponentially and the lectures are amazingly easy to stay awake and take notes in. I have also appreciated the shorter class sections and less amounts of class time, but more time studying and learning on my own. It frees up more time for fun things that college kids are supposed to experience.
The last major thing I have come away with I already hinted at: the exposure to a different system and life than mine which allows me to critique, change and appreciate my life in a more complete way. I now know that I prefer the American university system more than the French (perhaps European) system minus the cost of attendance here. I've found myself being more conscious of energy and water, two extremely expensive things for Europeans. I try to recycle more diligently and I have even found myself eating a more balanced diet (or as balanced as a student on a budget can afford). I can't really say what clicked, but it's almost like coming back to the US has allowed to me restart my habits again, changing and tweaking what I do to match how I now feel is the way I want to live. It is a new, clean slate where I can set the standards for exercising, doing my homework thoroughly and completely, working, being more economical, eating better and expanding my worldview even while living in conservative, white and not-diverse-whatsoever Pullman, Washington. I love it. Taking initiative and using this rare chance to change things that I otherwise may never have considered changing is a neat chance and I want to use it to its fullest advantage.
Ok, ok. This was a bit longwinded and maybe stale like my new apartment full of four men, but I hope you enjoyed it. I know it was a good thing for me to sit down and process my experiences as I had them. Thanks for reading, if there was anyone who read, and next time I go abroad I'll make sure and do this again so you can have southernfrancemakesmedance round two.