Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Getting to Know Me?

Tuesday, June 18.

Thank the good lord. I am finally one step closer to finding out where I'll be living next fall!

Although I've known all along that I'll be staying with a French family for the majority of my study abroad experience (with the exception of the first few weeks, which will be spent in a dorm), I've had absolutely zero information about the homestay! It's been torture discussing my study abroad program with friends and family, because they invariably ask me if I know where I'll be living. Some want to know about the family I'll be staying with and start asking about meals and laundry -- details that I can't even fathom knowing right now. Cue panic attack, am I right?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

C'est la ... Visa?

Tuesday, June 4.

If there is one thing in life that I have learned to dislike above all else, it is the visa application process. Seriously folks, it's the worst. Because I'm studying abroad for an entire semester, I'm required to have a "long stay" student visa (a must-have for anyone staying in France for over 90 days) and suffice it to say, it is not a piece of cake.

You can read all about the application process on the French Consulate's website, but trust me -- it's a very long and complicated process.

Two Tickets to Paradise ... with a layover in Reykjavik?

Monday, June 3.

Plane tickets have officially been bought. There's no going back now. (Just kidding, there was no going back once my mom paid the $1000 deposit a couple of months ago.)

I'm supposed to arrive in Montpellier on August 17 for my pre-session and orientation. Because the trip takes so long, I'll be leaving on Friday, August 16. I'm flying out of Dulles airport at 4:15 pm (our time) and should be in Pairs by 5:45 am on Saturday (their time). It'll be nearly midnight in Virginia by the time we land, so fingers crossed that I can fall asleep on the plane! It's kind of crazy to think about, because I've flown so many times with my family, but this trip will be my first ever solo flight. I don't think I'm nervous ... mostly because I'm usually the one dragging my mom and Madeleine through the airport anyhow! Besides, Molly's flight from Florida is set to get in less than half an hour after mine, so we'll hopefully be on the same short flight from Paris to Montpellier.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Finding the Perfect Program

Sunday, June 2.

So you know you want to study abroad. Now what?

First, you need to decide what you want out of as study abroad program. Where do you want to go? How long do you want to stay there? Do you need to take specific classes or be in an area with a certain language? How much money can you afford to spend on tuition and housing? Although you can always change your mind, it's important to think about these types of basic questions before starting to search for programs.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bonjour et Bienvenue!

Saturday, June 1.

Hi there and welcome to Montpellier et Moi, the blog I'll be using to provide updates about my experience as a William & Mary student studying abroad at the Universite Paul-Valery in Montpellier, France during the Fall 2013 semester.

I know what you're thinking: Elisabeth, it's June. You're not studying abroad yet. And you're right -- I'm not in Montpellier yet! But even though my study abroad program doesn't begin until mid-August, I've been planning my trip for over six months. There's a lot that goes into study abroad: finding and being accepted to the perfect program, applying for scholarships, figuring out classes and living situations, and -- of course -- applying for a student visa. Because the study abroad process is such a crazy one and because my program is so new to William & Mary, I thought it could be helpful to share what I'm going through before heading off to France.

For the next few months, this blog will be dedicated to the ins and outs of the study abroad application process: how to find and apply to programs, how to fund your trip, and how to figure out the necessary paperwork! Starting in mid-August, I'll be heading to France and will keep you updated with lots of photos, stories, and probably more than a few embarrassing moments.

In the meantime, you can explore the blog a bunch of different ways. Check out the bar to your left -- you can search for different subjects, find all the posts on a certain topic, or scroll through the blog archive! The tabs on top of the blog will take you to different pages -- all part of the blog. And of course, feel free to comment on posts with any questions or suggestions!