Valley Overseas: Embarrassing Moments Are Just As Bad in French

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

My Five Most Embarrassing Study Abroad Mishaps

I’ve been in France for a month, and yeah—I already have a list.

I even had to whittle it to the five most outstanding mishaps. Had I made the list longer, it could’ve taken hours evaluating which was worse, this missed tram or those lost keys? Well, readers, you’ll never know, because with these five mishaps there was no debating.

1. Pont du Puke

The Roman aqueduct called Pont du Gard (yep, that huge one right up there), attracts thousands of tourists each year. I could’ve appreciated its beauty had I been gazing at its stony arches instead of throwing up a creamy fish concoction eaten an hour before. While said meal was still inside me, I sat on the bus, sweating and praying I wouldn’t end up like that scene in “Bridesmaids.” Lesson learned: when severely
lactose-intolerant, avoid eating large quantities of mystery creamy substances.

2. Getting Hit By A Tram

Disclaimer: this isn’t as traumatic as it sounds. When the tram I take to class
smacked my shoulder as it whizzed by, it was mostly embarrassing. First, I
fell backwards onto a French man. Second, the plastic tram-shell made a gross
whapping noise when it smacked the flabby part of my upper arm. Third, it bruised.

3. Stranded

“Just got on the bus, see you soon!” — the last text I sent before taking the wrong bus to a random Montpellier suburb. The next– correct– bus would be in an hour. I was terrified to be stranded in an unknown place for an hour, but when I looked around, the neighborhood was all nice houses, playing children and strolling couples; I was the sketchiest thing around.

4. Messy in Monaco

Is anything more appealing than a cocktail on Monaco’s beaches? Arguably a cocktail that costs under 12 euros, but still. After hiking around the city, my friends and I settled in a beachside cafe and ordered Mojitos. The problem? They’d had breakfast. I hadn’t eaten yet that day, and the cocktail was strong enough to be illegal. That’s one way to enjoy the city.

5. Phonetics

Day one of phonetics class: my computer won’t let me log in. My professor
sends me to another. That one doesn’t work either. She has me switch computers
with someone else– nope, still no luck. She has me try a fourth computer. Then a fifth. Finally, she gives up, and I have to share a computer with someone else. In sum, I used five different computers and singlehandedly stalled class for 15 minutes. Ever since, my teacher has periodically asked me during class if everything is OK.

Fortunately, most of these mishaps had a silver lining. They’ve taught me, maybe the hard way, what to do and how to act. Or should I say how not to act? Either way, I’d rather miss a few buses than a few opportunities.