View from Moosilauke Ravine Lodge
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Blogger pictures in front of an old castle

It feels surreal to be back on campus, navigating the familiar paths of Hanover after immersing myself in the vibrant streets of Toulouse. My time in France was nothing short of transformative, touching me linguistically, socially, and personally.

"So, how was Toulouse?" is a commonplace question from friends who bump into me on campus. "I think it was a good reset." is my short answer.

And indeed, it was. My primary goal was to improve my proficiency in French, a language I had only a basic grasp of before embarking on this adventure. Initially apprehensive, I threw myself into every opportunity to practice – from heartfelt dinner conversations with my host family to dynamic discussions in my classes and spontaneous chats with French peers. Gradually, I found myself not just navigating academic contexts but also effortlessly engaging in social interactions, embracing French colloquialisms and cultural nuances along the way.

Museum building with a tower, made of orange undertoned bricks
Fondation Bemberg, one of the culture hubs we visited for our classes.

The beauty of Toulouse extended far beyond its picturesque landscapes. It was in the rhythm of daily life – the leisurely dinners, the animated exchanges on street corners, the seamless blend of history and modernity – that I discovered a newfound appreciation for the French way of living. I forged connections with local youth, delving into discussions on politics, digital culture, and art, each conversation enriching my understanding of the world and myself.

Between when I was last at Dartmouth and now, I feel calmer and almost more sense of my place at Dartmouth than before, which I did not expect following a time when I was away from Dartmouth. I anticipated a period of readjustment, yet I found myself surprisingly at ease, grounded by the lessons I learned overseas. My time in Toulouse instilled in me a deeper sense of self-awareness and purpose, reaffirming my commitment to fostering meaningful connections and pursuing academic passions. As I navigate the corridors of Dartmouth, I do so with renewed vigor, cherishing the bonds of friendship and embracing opportunities for intellectual exploration.

My time away truly changed me and the way I interact with the communities I partake in, including Dartmouth.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced the magic of Toulouse and to carry its lessons forward as I continue to grow and evolve. From immersing myself in French culture to rediscovering my sense of belonging at Dartmouth, every moment has shaped me into the person I am today. As I embark on new academic pursuits and adventures, I invite you to join me on this journey of discovery. Stay tuned for more tales from abroad and insights into the exciting chapters that lie ahead!

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