I had just graduated from middle school, and my french class had decided that we wanted to visit France together. Using the group, Global Works, we set up our trip, but I was scared. We were going to be spending a couple of days living with a french family and I was going to be alone. All of my friends had friends staying with them, but it was going to be just me and my family.
When we finally made it to Carcassonne, France, my fear increased. I met my french family and went home for the day. I thought that I was going to have to stay quiet for so long because my french was not very good yet. But the family was extremely nice. I soon learned that they all spoke very good English and were willing to help me as needed.
Global Works adds volunteer work to any trip as a way to add character building. My group and I worked on an archaeological dig at some old castles right outside of town. I found some bone and some pieces of pottery. It was the most fun volunteer work I had done. I learned that helping people could also be entertaining.
Every night, I went back home with my french family. I got homesick and scared at times, but they were always so understanding that I felt as though I could be myself by the end. My favorite memory from Carcassonne was visiting the old city, which used to be a castle, with my french family to get ice cream. They laughed and enjoyed their special activity with me, and I felt welcome. It was the first night that I felt as part of their family and not so much a stranger living in their home.
After the days we spent in Carcassonne, our group travelled to Provence for the rest of the week. One day, as we were visiting another old castle, I kept falling and hurting myself. Everyone in the group kept making sure I was okay. I was so embarrassed, but they just wanted to make sure I was okay. It surprised me because these people weren’t really my friends from school before, but they cared. I learned that people care even if they don’t always know you.
We finished our trip in France with a little site-seeing in Paris. I loved Paris, but my favorite part of the trip was the time I spent with my french family. They taught me the most about how even when people come from different backgrounds and different languages, people still will care and help you. They opened up the world to me. I learned that while you can be scared beginning anything new and being in a new environment, people understand where you are coming from, and more importantly, people are there to show you that you are strong enough to handle what made you scared.
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