My (almost) French Life

Ten years ago, I studied abroad.


Ten years ago today I arrived for a semester abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. To say I was excited is an understatement. I was super-duper ridiculously excited.Little did I know that that trip would change my life forever…

Thanks to the advice of a lovely friend, I chose Aix over bigger cities like Paris, she said she had been to the South of France and that it was beautiful and I’d really learn about French culture there, since Paris was a place where I’d find many English speakers and it was very cosmopolitan.

Aix was everything I could have asked for- so beautiful, charming, and quaint. French life was not crazy 24/7 life—stores were closed on Sundays and you had to plan accordingly for transportation services because buses only ran once every hour. This of course, drove us crazy in the beginning! But as time passed, I think we all appreciated the cafe-sipping, people watching, market-shopping lifestyle.

I believe everyone should be highly encouraged (required) to study abroad. The benefits of studying abroad are many:

  • You build language skills.
  • You learn to be more responsible.
  • You learn about different cultures.
  • You get to travel.
  • You eat things you thought you would never, ever try.
  • You meet different people, who may have different views from your own.
  • You learn a lot about who you are.
  • You make friends.
  • You make memories that will last a lifetime.

The semester I studied abroad I spent Carnavale in Venice, learned to appreciate wine, visited Monaco, went on hiking trips, visited 13th century cathedrals, rode on a gondola… the list keeps going and going!

The people, places and things I experienced while I studied abroad changed my life in so many ways. I met people that I still keep in touch with, true friends… and of course, 10 years later, there’s a little guy named Enzo who wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t studied abroad. #win

Here I am 10 years later with my Enzo, my half French son… I met his Papa when I studied abroad, and after two years of true friendship, one day the stars aligned and it was all sealed with a kiss (in Aix!), 5 years ago, we were married in Avignon, France.

Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.


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