Sheri Niemeyer in Pontlevoy, France
Bonjour! France was my home. I had never felt so welcomed and safe in a country that I had just stepped foot into not long ago. When I think about my experiences with the French people, it reminds me of the scene from "Beauty and the Beast," where Belle walked through town and everyone would greet her with a smile. The people of Pontlevoy, France were the exact same. They constantly greeted me with a, "Bonne journée!" (good day). Studying abroad in France was an experience of a lifetime!
Sheri and a friend visited England, where they stopped by a road made famous by the Beatles.
When I look back at my trip to France, I remember the people I studied with most of all. These classmates, from all over the United States, are the people that I know I can count on for the rest of my life. We have a bond that most do not receive in an entire lifetime. I know I will lose touch with some and others I will call often. I consider these kids to be some of the best friends I'll ever have. I recently visited three of them, and I had the absolute best time. We laughed, joked and talked the whole time we were together.
I'm an art major and lover, so being in France was my personal heaven! France is the home to almost all of the famous art that I had been learning about here on campus, only they were right in front of my eyes! I was within breathing distance of works by Degas, Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh! I could see the actual brush strokes and movements of these famous artists!
Sheri also visited this garden made famous by the paintings of impressionist Claude Monet.
What's so crazy about studying abroad is that you're able to see the places that you've learned about in all of your classes. When I went to class, I learned a bit from my professors then went out and saw what I had just learned. For example, in my Holocaust class, my professor took us to the Jewish quarter of Paris and showed us where the people lived during World War II and still live today! We also went to places where demonstrations of anti-Semitism took place and where the hatred is still shown today on the facade of one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris. But, by far the best thing out of it all: credits from the classes will transfer back to UW-Superior to fulfill some General Education requirements. So, basically, I was getting credits for classes while I was having an amazing time.
Something else I did was travel. I went to so many countries that I never dreamed of visiting! I went to Switzerland and went sledding in the Swiss Alps. I visited Amsterdam to learn a little bit more about my ancestry. I visited Spain and experienced their unique cultures and lifestyle. I also traveled to Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy on the first week of my spring break! I saw more art and history in one week of travel than I did in my whole lifetime combined! The second week of spring break I went to Dublin, Ireland and saw the real countryside there. I then traveled to London, England, one of my favorite places in the whole world!
But, with this huge experience in life I was left being a completely different person. I know, for sure, that I'm not the same person who got on the plane to France in February, and I'm okay with that. The person who left had life all figured out and knew exactly what she wanted. But, the person who came back isn't satisfied with that life anymore. She wants so much more, and I can honestly say that I want more than anything to go out and achieve a totally different life. I'm not scared anymore to go out and roam a huge city or ask for directions from a stranger. I'm not scared to go out and take a subway and to end up in the complete opposite direction than I had planned. I'm not scared to go live my dreams and do things I've always wanted to do. The "new" Sheri can do all those things that the "old" Sheri could never do. My only problem right now is figuring out what I want to achieve and do in my life, but once I do, you can bet anything that I'll be out there doing it!