Greetings!

The past six weeks have been both awesome and challenging in ways that I could have never imagined.  I spent 5 weeks in Angers, France taking a whole year of French.  That’s right – a whole year of French – packed into 5 little weeks.

Angers (pronounced Ahn-jay) is one of the prettiest places that I have ever seen, so that made the school part tons easier.  Everywhere I looked, there were roses, trees, lakes, castles, and ice cream.

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And art!

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And music!

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I had so much fun walking around Angers, doing things like acrobatic yoga, eating funnel cake fries, and listening to live music.

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Angers is in the Loire Valley, which is known for its delicious pastries and its castles.

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My favorite pastry and castle are pictured above.  That loaf of deliciousness in my hand is pain du chocolat noir.  It tastes like a sweet bread with chocolate chips in it.  The castle above is named Chenoceau.  That cool bridge under the castle and the beautiful gardens surrounding it were designed by Catherine de Medici and other women.  Isn’t that awesome?  Also, there is a labyrinth near the castle where you can test your ability to not get lost!

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You can study abroad in high school with organizations like Experiment in International Living.  They even offer full scholarships.

If you are in college, you can apply for a Gilman scholarship to receive up to $5,500 to assist with studying internationally!  I would not have been able to make this trip without Gilman’s help.

Another thing that you can do is contact your school’s international studies office to look for more opportunities and funding.  Be sure to share them with me!

After I completed my studies in Angers, I hopped on a bus to Paris.  That is the cool thing about traveling to another country.  You can see so many places while you are there.

Of course, I visited all of the cool places like the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower.  I even got to see the Eiffel Tower light up!  It only illuminates like this once per hour.

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I was so inspired by all of this awesomeness, I hit up an open mic and decided to be kind of awesome myself.  Here I am performing with the house band at Belushi’s in Paris.

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It was tons of fun.  I have to tell you, Paris is beautiful, the food is great, and you meet some of the nicest, most unique people there.  Please visit there one day, okay?

While I was in Europe anyway, I purchased a super cheap flight to Barcelona, Spain.  If you book in advance with an airline like RyanAir or EasyJet, you can get a round trip ticket to Barcelona from Paris for as little as 20 Euros each way.  That’s about $30!

Here’s the catch – you can only take one carry on bag with no extra baggage costs.  So, here’s what you do.  Put your heavy luggage in storage in Paris for a few days, throw some clothes and soap in your backpack, and get on a plane to Barcelona!

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As you can see, it’s worth it!  Barcelona is all about warm weather, beaches, art, mountains, music, delicious food, and super friendly people!

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Walk down a street like La Rambla, and see live painting, magicians, craftspeople, break dancing, five story McDonald’s, fresh fruit juices, and so much more every single day.

If you are like me, you might want to grab a smoothie and some gourmet chocolate and take it all in, chill style.

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Feed the birds…

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Try on some masks…

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Check out the giant, beautiful museums like the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya….

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Climb a mountain and see the city from above…

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Go to a water polo game at an Olympic pool…

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Or just walk around and see the cool buildings…

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As you can probably tell, I LOVED Barcelona.  I think that you will too.

One thing about traveling as a student is that when you come back, you are not afraid of a lot of things anymore.  You really feel empowered to do anything, because you have already done something so amazing – saw the world.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Okay.  Plan it, and go there. 🙂

~ Nikala Asante

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