2012: I was taken in by a xenodochial hôtesse (read all about how I ended up with her here).
She wasn’t xenophobic, thankfully! Her rôle was to immerse us (my rommate and I) into French culture and that is Exactly what she did.
With bread and fromage at every meal, accompagné with French conversation (at our level, bien-sûr),
and Plus Belle La Vie as we finished up dîner, we began to accept and apprécie French culture thanks to this wonderful femme.
It is normal to have a période of mild xenophobia when abroad for the first time (after all, when there’s no good peanut-butter, no 24-hour shopping center, no friends nor famille…aka SEULE…life becomes a bit difficile), and sometimes all it takes is one amazing native to pull you out of this stage. Thankfully, that is exactement who we had! She helped ease us out of our Américain habits and replace them with French habits. A transition which helped make life in France habitable.
Also, it is thanks to her that I met mon chéri!
When studying/working/living abroad, it’s helpful to have a xenodochial ‘insider’ – someone who is an ‘expert’ on the culture (a natif or someone who has been living there for several years) – to ease your transition from the culture where you came to the one you’re currently in. If you find yoursefl with a bout of xenophobia: Don’t fret! Xenophobia usually disappears with time – as you immerse yourself into the culture and make friends. It’s normal to have episodes where you crave food from home or you miss your famille too much or you’ve had enough rudeness for the day, but these feelings don’t last more than a day and they are NOT violent. If you find yourself in a situation where these feelings turn into depression or they turn you violent or you just can’t shake them, seek the advice of a professionnel or a close friend via Skype, for exemple, before they take over your entire outlook on life. ♦
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