Mon Voyage #2: The Isolation

Well, we made it across the Channel! Bonjour and welcome back to the second instalment of my year abroad series – there’s much to discuss.


So I made it to Paris just over two weeks ago now, and it’s all felt very strange. After completing a Covid test two days before departure, anyone entering France from the UK was still required to isolate for a week upon arrival and then complete a second Covid test after this isolation period. My first week here was, therefore, to be honest, the loneliest week ever. The first night I ended up sobbing on the phone to my Mum about how stressed and overwhelmed I felt. Not great.


To some, a week of isolation might not sound too bad; but personally, living alone for an extended period with zero in-person interaction was a mentally-draining time. However, after daily Facetimes with my Mum (bless her soul) and keeping myself occupied with online classes, the end of the week eventually came into sight. I’ve learnt a lot about myself from that week alone. 


Now, I’ve finally been able to start exploring the city which has been great despite very little being open. It’s kind of amazing how simply changing your location can have such an impact on mental health. Being able to break away from the ‘groundhog day’ that the past year has felt like for most people has certainly given me a serotonin boost. 


Much like in the UK, last week was quite snowy here. It made my daily explorations all the more picturesque whilst also posing a challenge of trying not to slip over every time I ventured outside – my track record wasn’t great. Alongside these ventures outside, meeting new people has also been my main aim of these initial weeks. After reaching out to other Erasmus students via Facebook groups I was put at ease to know that there are lots of other people eager to meet up. Facebook groups can genuinely be a lifesaver in these instances. Essentially we’re all in the same boat which has made socialising much easier to initiate – much like the start of uni where everyone just wants to make friends. I’m additionally quite lucky to have some fellow Notts students also in the city, allowing me to engage in more familiar connections whilst also forging new ones.  


It hasn’t been the easiest ride to get here, and despite at times wishing for the academic year to be over already, it’s safe to say I’m now glad to have made it. Let’s hope the next few months continue in an upwards trajectory! 


My main takeaways: friendships (and human interactions in general) are so important. Putting yourself out there might be a scary concept, but you’ll be glad to have done so in the long run. Plus, everyone is eager to make friends on a year abroad so you’re not alone.