Hello. Bonjour. سلام. Ciao.
I’ve had wanderlust since the age of fourteen, when I first arrived in Paris on a family vacation. Frequent trips to France and courses in the French language weren’t enough to slake my obsession with Francophone culture and foreign languages, so I moved to Geneva, Switzerland, on a Gap year at the age of eighteen.
I spent nine months in Geneva fumbling with my gradually improving linguistic abilities, blending into Swiss high school as the only foreign exchange student, and exploring the wonders of Swiss culture with an incredible host-family (now second family). It was like living a fairy-tale life, unreal, fleeting. I wanted to follow my Swiss classmates to the University of Geneva, but family and friends were calling me back home. Instead, I settled down for a time in Omaha, Nebraska, pursuing a degree in French literature so as not to lose my budding second language. Secretly I was scheming to return, this time to France.
In January 2011 I became an undergraduate exchange student in Amiens, a charming city in the north of France. I was affectionately called an “Erasmus,” synonymous with many things, none of which include studying. I enrolled directly in the French university and met Czechs, Poles, Romanians, Spaniards, Turks and the wonderful, fun-loving North Africans. I fell in love with another culture, a French-speaking subculture made up of North Africans from the Maghreb: Moroccans, Algerians, and my beloved Tunisians. And so I was introduced to the Arabic language, la culture maghrébine, the realities of immigrating to Europe.
I went back to Amiens for a year, from August 2012 to June 2013, after finishing my undergraduate education in the United States. I spent a year learning about English as a foreign language, taking Masters classes, teaching English and making friends among Erasmus and locals alike. In June I decided to move back home for a spell, accepting a dream job in the greater New York City area hiring language tutors worldwide. My fiancé is patiently waiting in France for his visa to arrive, and in the meantime, I am working on mastering countless foreign languages and the nuances of living on the East Coast.