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Lauryn Cannon: Essay One

My name is Lauryn Cannon, I am a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University. My

major is in International Studies, with a onentration in Soial !elations and a minor in "renh.
I have a #een interest in Euro$ean ulture, $artiularly "renh ulture, and it is my ho$e to travel
and learn more a%out the di&&erent &aets o& "renh ulture. I e'$et that the e'$eriene will only
serve to %roaden my understanding o& the world and ontri%ute to my areer advanement.
"rane and the "renh language were among the &irst su%jets o& my studies and it is
through those viarious e'$erienes that I develo$ed a $assion &or travel and ulture. I have, &or a
long time, wanted to master at least one international language and so $ursued a num%er o&
"renh language ourses here. (o hel$ e'tend my learning, I joined a &renh lu% and %egan to
enjoy its musi, &ilms and other ultural $roduts. )nd when my $arents agreed to host three
&renh e'hange students during my high shool years, it was a %oon to have suh aess to the
language, the ulture and es$eially the &riendshi$s I made &or li&e.
"eeling &oreign*whether on international soil or not* is always as uni+ue as it is
something to whih we an all relate. My &irst o& a &ew suh e'$erienes was when I &irst landed
in ,aris. My e'hange student-s %rother had %een waiting &or me, reogni.ed me &rom my $hoto
and eventually &ound me. /e was late &or wor#, I &elt res$onsi%le and the &at that I was
om$letely de$endent on him didn-t hel$ matters. )s we $roeeded to ma#e our way to their
house, I &elt very muh li#e a 0tourist1, my style o& lothing*even thin#ing*stood out &rom the
loals. It was, o& ourse, om$letely unli#e what we see in re$resented in the media here. It was
then that I %egan to em$athi.e with what $eo$le visiting the U.S must go through. )nd it was this
understanding that made me thin# that may%e it wasn-t +uite that %ad a&ter all: tourists always
have the o$tion o& %lending in and are usually welomed i& there is a genuine s$irit o& generosity
and o$enness. Lu#ily I was right and it seemed that my e&&orts to at least meet $eo$le hal& way
were well reeived.
(he e'$eriene showed me how muh I ta#e &or granted and how muh it is im$ossi%le
to, in &at, ta#e &or granted. I reali.ed how ultural di&&erenes are o$$ortunities*not just to &ind
ommon ground*%ut also to a$$reiate &or their uni+ueness. )nd on some level I also reali.ed
that there is indeed a way &or one $erson to immerse themselves in more than one ulture and
ome away without any om$romise to one-s sense o& sel& or identity. It is this last insight that I
#ee$ oming %a# to, the thing that I %elieve will ma#e all the di&&erene as I $ursue my areer
and li&e.