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I remember sitting in my Spanish professor’s office, contemplating whether or not I should go to Talloires. The only other country I had traveled to was Vietnam, and I went with family. We spoke the language and knew the culture. But Talloires was different. I had zero knowledge of France. I never took French in school, so my French was limited to just “Bonjour” and “Merci”. Simply put, I was scared. I spent endless days making a decision, but looking back, there was nothing to worry about.

I could write a whole book describing how beautiful Talloires was, but it was a view you have to see with your own eyes to believe. My host parents spoke fluent English, so communication was never a problem. However, none of my 3 host siblings (6, 8, and 10 years old) spoke English. Regardless of the language barrier, bonding with them will always be my favorite part. They taught me how to play card games, how to draw cartoons, and how to spoon feed someone disgusting combinations of spices found in the kitchen (long story).

Tufts in Talloires broadened my understanding of appreciating cultures and traditions from different regions of the world. It was the long weekly (optional, don’t worry) hikes that introduced me to the immaculate views of lakes and mountains. As a non-cheesy person, it was the cheese-tasting that gave me confidence in trying new things. It was saying “Il coupe une pomme”, the first complete French sentence I learned, that made me truly understand how powerful and exciting language was, how a sound incomprehensible in one language can have a whole new meaning in another. It was the little things from going to the beach, or dining outside restaurants, or browsing through antique shops in Annecy that made it all worth it for me. As a low-income student, I never would have thought this life-changing trip was possible if it weren’t for the financial support from the Tufts European Center and the First Center, and I can’t thank them enough.