Why Living Abroad Wasn’t the Dream Life I Expected It to Be

8 months in France: here’s why I would never do it again.

Liam Hunter-Bailey
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readSep 17, 2023

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A brown-haired woman scratches her head. The Eiffel Tower can be seen in the distance, against a clear, blue sky.
Living in France wasn’t all it was cracked up to be / Photo credit

In September 2020, I started university for the first time. I study modern languages, with a focus on French. As part of my four-year course, it was a requirement for me to undertake a period of at least 8 months in a country where French is the official language.

Thinking back, this was one of the main reasons why I chose this degree in particular; I always loved travelling and for as long as I can remember I have loved the idea of living in a foreign country. This was my chance to make that a reality.

As I entered my second year of university (one year before the year abroad), our tutors began to prepare us for what it might be like. They taught us how to open bank accounts, what documentation we would need and the best ways to find accommodation.

The more we planned, the more real it began to feel.

Then, all of a sudden, university had finished for the year and there were only a couple of months before the big move. Due to the fact that this was a university-organised year abroad, it wasn’t up to me to decide where I spent my time. I was allocated France, specifically the region of Normandy in the northwest of…

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Liam Hunter-Bailey
Human Parts

An Irish language lover, writing about productivity, self-improvement, and my travel experiences.