Last I left you all, dear readers, I was busy with schoolwork, positively swimming in academics, exams, papers, and presentations. And I’ve never stopped being busy. In fact, I’ve only gotten busier. I got an internship!
I now work with my study abroad provider, MICEFA, helping out with administrative tasks. I take check deposits to the bank, schedule appointments, and create communication material. It’s great. I enjoy working with the staff in an environment where I can speak both English and French. I’m getting to know a lot about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a study abroad program while learning how to manage the bureaucratic nightmare that France can be. It’s got some perks, too, besides the pay: I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with the MICEFA staff! Being able to have moments like that certainly helps stave off the homesickness.
But with great responsibility comes a great lack of time. With my Thursdays and Fridays blocked off for work, gone are my long weekends, and with them disappeared my travel opportunities. It’s not like I had a budget to go very far, but I appreciated that I had more than just a couple of days off. I was able to take some time to explore the Paris and the Île-de-France region a bit. But for the last few weeks, I’ve had to dedicate my Saturdays to self-care and cleanup, and my Sundays to spending time with my boyfriend.
Why do I do this to myself, I wonder. Sometimes I watch with envy as my friends in my exchange explore Europe with all their free time. Over the past three weekends, I’ve seen photos of their trips to Rome, Lisbon, and Berlin. But, you know what? I still have a whole semester left here. Most of my classmates are taking advantage of what’s left of their Fall semester. Their study abroad adventure ends in December, but mine would only be halfway through at that point. Also, I’ve already been lucky enough to have seen most of the big European capitals. I’m really in no rush.
In the end, I’m glad to have taken more time to adjust to life on my own in France. Next semester, I know how to better arrange my schedule so I’ll not only have time for school and work, but also to take advantage of my stay here in Europe. I’ll also have a lot more flexibility with my budget now that I’m making a bit of extra money with my job. I think that all my work this semester will pay off. It’ll just take a bit of patience on my part.