My name is Askar Salikhov and I am 21 years old. I am a junior history and international studies major at West Virginia University, and I am studying at Science Po Grenoble, which is located in Grenoble, France. I will remain here for the fall semester.
What made you want to study abroad?
Being a student in the Honors College at at WVU means that my learning experience must extend beyond the classroom. I’ve watched my peers travel to different places to enrich their lives, to learn a new language, to experience new cultures and so much more. Naturally, I wanted to be able to do the same. I’ve always been motivated by asking myself the question, “Why not?” (Although, in simplest terms, studying abroad looks quite good on a resume.)
What were your expectations for this trip?
During the summer, I either have dreams or nightmares about what the upcoming school year will be like. It often happens during transitional periods, such as going from middle school to high school. However, this time, I didn’t have any dream of what study abroad would be like. It’s strange in that I couldn’t even imagine what living in France on your own would be like. At the minimum, I expected new discoveries, friends, traditions and whatever else. So far, I’m only beginning to scratch the surface.
What do you hope to do or accomplish while abroad?
First and foremost, I expect to learn how to speak and comprehend the French language as best as I can. That is the meat of my studies here in Grenoble. In addition, compiling a diverse cast of international friends opens a door to new and exciting activities such as sports and cuisine. I am very open to such exploration during my stay.
What has been your biggest culture shock?
Having spent only two weeks in France, I have already faced and come to terms with the biggest culture shock: lack of air conditioning. Air conditioning and central air are ideas that the French are not very accustomed to. In fact, the infrastructure in France, especially in residence dorms, is not compatible with mounted air conditioning units like in the United States. Almost anyone that has endured the 90-degree summer in the U.S. would understand my shock.