The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: abroad

So I Moved Across the World

So I Moved Across the World

Hi, my name is Jaylinn, and this semester I decided to move to Europe. It’s crazy to think I decided to live across the world without ever having been here. But I knew it was something I had always wanted to do. Living in Spain is definitely a drastic change, but I would not trade it for anything in the world. It’s important to research ahead of time what to expect, for example, I researched social norms in Southern Spain. Europe is relatively similar to the United States but the little things like kisses on the cheek instead of hand shakes can throw you off if you aren’t aware. I also listened to Spain top 50 on Spotify to know what music they listened to. Lucky for me they listened to Latin American and some English music which I was familiar with. Although research beforehand was very helpful it’s important to keep an open mind and observe the first few weeks. Because of this I didn’t experience much culture shock, of course a little is inevitable though. So far this experience has taught me so much about myself in such a short amount of time. It’s the first time I had lived on my own outside of a dorm and has taught me about independence in that sense. Also about how much broader the world is outside of America. People from all over Europe are always in Alicante, and it’s common for people to move to other countries and just pick up on the language. Most of all out of this journey so far I feel like I have learned to keep an open mind, when it comes to experiences, cultural norms, and everything else in between.



Bonjour tout le monde et je suis desolée pour le retard! Je m’appelle Marli, comme Bob (as the French tell me).  I am a rising junior at Loyola University Chicago studying anthropology with a minor in French studies. Who could possibly know what I’ll be able to do with that; but c’est la vie, vrai? Now, I am studying at Université de Pau et des Pays de L’adour (Université de Pau for short) as an international student (étudiants étrangers). This will be my second week here in the lovely, small city of Pau, France! To be honest, a lot of people don’t really know Pau exists. I live in the Aquitaine Region of southwest France, in what the French call: le département de Les Pyrenées Atlantiques (the Pyrenees). This petite ville (small city) is not well known to be full of tourist attractions but offers an array of beautiful scenery and a few famous castles. I recently visited le Chateau de Henri IV le week-end dernier (last week-end) and found myself absolutely speechless. This enormous castle stood against this beautiful backdrop of the Pyrenees like something out of a fairytale or Disney logo. From perfectly manicured bushes and landscapes, everything looked immaculate!

As far as language barriers go, I have had my share of unfriendly remarks and snickers because of my inability to speak French. I have also had university students call me “mignon” which means “cute” because they find my franglish endearing. I have to say that it is a bit difficult to try and salvage what little French phrases that I know because most French people aren’t very patient. For example, when I am checking out at the grocery store I usually greet le caissier with a “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” depending on the time of day. Side note: It is not very acceptable to say ‘bonjour’ any time after 7 p.m. (even if it’s the only word you can think of at the time)! As I put my groceries into my bag, le caissier tells me the price of all my items. In my haste, I rambled in English and I repeated the total back to her, in French, to make sure I heard correctly. Apparently, you don’t do that. While I was reaching into my purse to look for my euros, le caissier immediately writes the total down on a piece of paper (like I didn’t see it on the register) so I’d have both a verbal and visual understanding. Her expression was bothered and she rudely gave me my change. I could feel that she didn’t want to be pestered with my less than accurate French speaking or my incoherence and “inability” to read a register screen. But this was only one encounter. Discouraged, I hadn’t tried to speak French while I went to the grocery store or to the small university mall. One day, two native French students told me to only speak to them in French whether I thought I would be wrong or right in my responses. So, I did. And guess what? I was told that I was not as bad as I made it seem. I was told that French people are no more confident with their English than foreigners are with their French. I made the mistake by inadvertently forcing le caissier to understand my comfort language of english rather than forcing myself to step out of my comfort zone and speak in hers. Since then, I have had nothing but pleasant experiences while shopping and going around about the ville. I have noticed that people are more amiable and helpful when I speak a little French than when I ask for help in English.



Ciao a tutti!

Don’t be thrown off by the fact that the first four words of this blog have been in Italian, I do not know Italian (yet). But I do know how important words are to us humans and therefore I will warn you all right here and right now that all of my blog posts will be centered around the word I choose to use as the title. You will learn to love it though, don’t worry.

Today I begin my grand adventure to Rome to study for the first semester of my senior year of college. So, if you have already looked up “culaccino” or you have seen the picture posted below you will wonder what this word has to do with my expeditions.

"Pre-Day One"
“Culaccino” – (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.

1. It’s the only Italian word I could find that was untranslatable in English other than “gattara,” which describes and old lonely lady who devotes herself to stray cats… you can see why that wasn’t my first choice.

2. The fact that the Italians have a single word for such a simple image that we have all experienced in our lives gets me more excited than ever to visit such a beautiful country! I hope to find myself smiling at many a marks left on tables by cold glasses while I am abroad.

Anyways, I am not going to ramble on about myself today simply because the more you read the more you will get to know me and this blog is primarily about every one of you anyways. Here’s to hoping you all can get something out of my blog at least once during my travels.

Gotta jet, time to catch my flight!