Aya Sakaguchi, Poitiers, France
The best part of living in Poitiers for a year was becoming involved as a student and as a member of the community. At the university, I voted at student assemblies and discussed the role of the European Union with fellow students. Professors were always impressed by our enthusiasm to participate during class. Every Saturday, I looked forward to buying dates at the local market (a professor recommendation) and to meeting friends at the cafés next to the medieval church. Throughout the year, my wonderful host family helped me integrate into the community by introducing me to neighbors, inviting me to musical concerts, and celebrating French holidays with me. Studying abroad in France truly allowed me to appreciate the importance of culture, community, and family. At the end of the year, I was proud to call myself a poitevine.