I’ll never forget the first time I travelled to France. I was a sophomore in high school, and I got to go through a program that my high school French teachers were involved with. It was expensive, but worth every penny. I learned a lot on that trip, and because of what I learned, my next trip to France was even better. In this article I’ll discuss my trip to France, the things I learned, and how I was able to apply those lessons on my next trip to France a few years later.
The first time I went to France, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep on the plane. This ended up working against me, because as soon as we landed in Paris, we started sightseeing right away. Because I hadn’t slept, the first day in Paris was a difficult one for me. I did get through it and I felt a lot better the next day after I had slept. After our visit to Paris, we stayed with host families for six days, which gave us a chance to actually live the lifestyle. The only part of this experience that I would change is that I would have spoken more French – I spoke mostly English with my host family’s daughter and her friends.
After my stay with my host family, I was back with my friends and French teachers – we traveled to the Loire Valley, where we got to tour many of the famous châteaux, including Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. I enjoyed this part of the trip, because at this time I was very interested in art. After our visit to the Loire Valley, we went back to Paris for a few days – during this last trip to Paris, we got to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and get a bird’s eye view of Paris.
What made this trip memorable
What made this trip memorable for me was that I actually got to experience what it was like to live in France, not just visit it as a tourist.
Important things I learned – The things I learned can be separated into a few different categories:
The process of applying for a passport Packing outfits that can be hand washed and air dried, as well as outfits that can be mixed and matched. The importance of sleeping on the plane. How to use travelers checks. How to safeguard travelers checks and other belongings you keep with you while you’re sightseeing, like your camera. The importance of writing the words “Par Avion” (by airmail) on postcards. The importance of speaking the language of the country you’re visiting.
Aside from being tired the first day, I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to France, and I’m glad I got to go back a second time so I could apply some of the lessons I learned.