I am so happy I decided to do this study abroad. I think it was great that each day was so different from the others and that really kept students engaged. I tell someone about this trip everyday now and I will highly recommend it to other students in the future. It was suiting that most of the French I remember was related to asking for food because that’s where about 80% of my budget went to but I am very happy with that just because of everything I got to try. It blew my mind how cheap nice cheese croissants were compared to the US. I am pretty sure I am lactose intolerant since splitting a fondue bowl with some friends on one of our last nights. I am happy with all the pictures I took and quickly saved those to show all my friends when I got back. I was not expecting my sleep pattern to be so messed up but for the first week back I got up at 2 AM in the US because it would be 8 AM in Toulouse.

I am now more confident in my independent travel abilities. It really helped that we went on a weekend trip to Collioure, France while we were over there and had to buy our own train tickets and a place to stay. I’m heading to Denver in August to see my brother and now I have zero fear of coming up with my own accommodations for the trip. I am very happy also with the academic lessons that I learned, specifically the ones on livestock because that’s what I deal with on a daily basis. It was interesting learning about the Label Rouge products and I can see why consumers prefer it but also why we can’t exactly use those practices in the US just because we do have to produce so much meat. The Label Rouge poultry was grown longer than the conventional poultry and were either free range on a farm or free range in the woods. The Label Rouge products sold at about twice as much as the commercial meat chickens.

I really want to go back to Europe as soon as possible but I don’t think that will happen for a few more years because of finances. My trip to Amsterdam afterwards was another good way to build my independence. I did a lot of tours there: self-led, canal led, and tour guide led. The city has a very interesting history and it would be great to learn about other cities with such rich history. Southern France was a great place to have the study abroad though because of the climate being able to support all of these aspects of agriculture we learned about and also being geographically pleasant. I think my favorite days were Roquefort, poultry and wine. The day we went to the winery, the olive farm and to Cordes was actually my 22nd birthday and it was the best birthday I have had yet. I really don’t think I disliked any of the days, not even the waste water treatment day. I think that is what made the trip so great was the constant learning and new experiences.