Angers, France was my second international experience, and quickly became one of the most impactful times of my life. During the month-long journey in France, I had the opportunity to reflect and verify my passions in life. My first year of college forced me to begin thinking of my future in fear of choosing the wrong decisions that relate to my career goals. I questioned my passion for the field of business and started to worry that I was not suited for the business arena. However, experiencing a constant dose of culture shock every single day allowed me to experience fear on another level: the fear of isolation. My first interaction with the French culture occurred after walking through the Paris, France airport of Charles De Gaulle. My curious mind was flooded with images and sounds consisting of different languages, cultural interactions, and utter confusion. Most of my time was spent wandering the airport completely in shock and afraid of interacting with a new culture. After several hours passed me by, I took chances to utilize the language and its phrases without any anxiousness. A plethora of kind-hearted people empathized with my lost state and attempted to help me with their limited knowledge of the English language as I too tried to express myself with my limited comprehension of the French language.
In the end, I learned the importance of letting fear be the driving point to one’s confidence. In many cases, people choose to let fear overpower their thinking, and they lose sight of what they wish to obtain or gain in terms of knowledge. Nevertheless, we as individuals must choose how we let our grasp of fear influence our livelihood. My first day in France, I decided to let my fear of the culture barrier drive me to learn more of the French language and to make an effort to incorporate the language’s mechanics into my everyday lifestyle. Aside from the awkward moments and misunderstandings, I found my efforts to be rewarding, and they have now propelled me to continue my progression in the language since my return home to the United States. The beauty of life is that everyone continues to question their paths because the future in unpredictable. In life, we continue to re-evaluate ourselves and fear not knowing what the future holds in store for us. It is okay to be afraid, but never let that fear stop you from taking a leap of faith once in awhile that will help you view the world from a different perspective.
Written by: Javon Nathaniel