Author Archives: satyaadabala

About satyaadabala

Hello! I'm Satya, and I'm studying French language and politics in Tours, France and Paris, France this summer 2019. Follow my journey on the Gilman Global Experience Blog!

It’s Not Au Revoir- Only À Bientôt! :)

Hi there! I greet you in English this time, as I have now returned to the lovely peach state (good old Georgia)! Towards the end of my month-and-a-half in France, I was actually quite enthusiastic to return home. I was happy of course, and incredibly grateful for my study abroad experience, but I couldn’t help but feel impatient to return to my regular life. I felt excited for my second year of university, and eager to make the most of my time at home before leaving for college again. 

My last few days, however, were bittersweet. As I took my usual route home on the final day of classes, it struck me that it was my last commute. The comfortable, pedestrian-friendly streets leading to my host family’s house, lined with Carrefour grocery stores and Parisian cafés at every corner- accompanied by the picturesque view of the Eiffel Tower peeking out over majestic apartment buildings, as I was lucky enough to live in the 7th arrondissement– are forever ingrained into my memory. Even now, I can picture it all with clarity. I do believe that this summer was an experience I will never be able to forget. 

Surprisingly, I felt odd adjusting to life in the U.S. again. My diet was extremely different in France, and quite frankly, I miss my daily croissants or pain au chocolat, made fresh by my local boulangerie every morning! The other day, I simply had to run an errand, and I couldn’t help but think that suburban Georgia is so much more limiting than the city of Paris. I loved being able to easily walk or take a metro to wherever I wanted to go- a museum with friends, a famous French neighborhood, or a Parisian park. Now, I need to drive almost twenty minutes in traffic to reach the nearest Wal-Mart. The lifestyle change was a bit shocking.

My route home!

Now that I’ve been back for almost a week, though, I’ve adopted a new mindset. I’m so grateful for everything that I have been able to experience this summer, and I’m ready to utilize what I’ve learned during my study abroad program in my day-to-day life. My French skills, and especially my listening comprehension and speaking, have improved drastically. I plan to practice the language every single day to maintain my knowledge. I also learned to make the most of everything the city had to offer while I was in Paris. I now plan to make more of an effort to take advantage of everything in Washington, D.C.! I’m incredibly excited for a potential future study abroad as well, and I believe that I now hold the tools to have an easier transition to life abroad. 

Au revoir is how I’ve signed off every blog. But to France, I say à bientôt (see you soon)! I am enthusiastic to see what the future holds. Yet I am sure that this was only the first of many experiences learning to adore la vie en rose, en France.

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How the Paris Metro Has Helped My Sense of Direction

Bonjour: part 2! This time, I write to you from a breathtaking city of love and light, history and heart, laughter and life- le magnifique Paris

My last week in the small but charming city of Tours passed quickly. My depart was bittersweet; I adored the way of life that I had just begun to become accustomed to, and I didn’t want to leave behind my caring host family, those unforgettable nights enjoying the cool breeze at the Loire River, and of course, my favorite crêperie. Yet I soon found myself thrust into the big city life as I stepped out of my TGV train into the bustling, overcrowded, and somewhat smelly Gare Montparnasse. 

Initially, I was nothing but stressed. I had heard altogether too many stories about pick-pocketing on Paris metros, and I could not figure out for the longest if I was even on the right train. Is this line 8 train traveling toward Balard or Creteil? Actually, am I even supposed to be taking line 8? Do I exit at the Invalides station? Or is Tour-Maubourg a closer walk? What if the doors close while I’m still hauling my suitcase?! Oh no, I have to hold on tighter to my purse! Wait, how do you use a metro ticket… 

Prior to Paris, my sense of direction left much to be desired. It is astonishing to me that over the course of just a few weeks here, I feel more comfortable with navigation than I ever have in my life. Of course, I have a few initial horror stories- forgetting to get off at the stop I needed to, or accidentally taking an RER train to the suburbs- but overall, I feel more independent. I feel confident in my ability to navigate my way through unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as my ability to problem-solve on the fly. It was surprising to realize that something as simple as the public transportation system here could teach me so much. 

Beyond the metro, though, my most memorable experience has definitely been the fête nationale (or in English, Bastille Day), which took place on Sunday, July 14, 2019. I was able to attend the parade in the morning, and I was lucky enough to find a spot to watch the concert and fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower that night. Traversing the throngs of people who were crowded in the streets, proudly waving their French flags and singing La Marseillaise (the French national anthem), I truly felt the national spirit in the air. Bastille Day gave me a look into the pride and patriotism of the French, something that I had never been able to see or consider before. It was an amazing experience, and I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to appreciate the national holiday of France, at the heart of the country’s capital. 

Bastille Day Concert.

I am incredibly eager for my last week in this city, which stores wonders in each of its arrondissements (neighborhoods). I can say without a doubt that I will cherish every last second here, à Paris. Au revoir for now!

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Salut from Tours, France: Introduction of moi!

Bonjour! My name is Satya Adabala, and I’m a rising sophomore at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, studying International Politics and French. This summer, I will be spending two weeks in the city of Tours, France taking a French cultural integration class. My next four weeks will be spent in Paris studying French politics and the European Union. I can’t wait to take you along on my journey!

In the days leading up to my departure for France, I was so nervous that I couldn’t bring myself to feel excited. The stress of the last few days at my job, shopping for necessities, and packing for six weeks in a small suitcase- not to mention budgeting for expenses and working out last minute details when my connecting flight was delayed- contributed, without a doubt, to my anxious mindset. Yet when I finally found myself getting out of a cab amidst gorgeous white buildings, the rapid French chatter of passersby, and the smell of fresh baguettes wafting out of boulangeries on every corner, I found my enthusiasm all at once. 

When I first arrived in Tours, I thought the city was very small. Yet one walk around the town with my fellow schoolmates revealed just how much there is to experience. Trying various colorful pastries at lunchtime, discovering beautiful 19th century chapels hidden away in back roads, and of course, meeting people happy to converse with me to help me practice my speaking, have been the highlights of my time in Tours thus far. 

The biggest difference between Tours and my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia is the pace of life. The first few days of exploring were simply wonderful, but I experienced culture shock when I realized that my classes ended at 1 pm, giving me free time that I usually don’t have as a busy college student. I didn’t know what to do with myself at first, and I felt almost guilty for not being completely preoccupied at every moment. However, I quickly realized that the French pace of life in a small town is naturally slower, and that I could still keep myself busy by exploring the culture and putting my language skills to the test. I have for the first time been able to take up to two hours for lunch, practicing my French as I interact with my lovely host family, or plan a spontaneous trip to a nearby château (the Loire valley is known for its extraordinary castles!) I feel that my language skills have vastly improved over the course of just a week. 

I have one more week left in the charming city of Tours before I leave for Paris and all of its grandeur. I am sure that I will have another learning curve to face in one week’s time, but for now, I am making the most of my last days here. My goal is to see as many more castles as I can before I leave.

Until then, au revoir! 🙂    

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