Year Abroad Diaries

From 2012-13, I was an English Language Assistant (ELA) in two schools in rural Normandy. Sharing extracts from my personal journal is a form of remembrance for me, but I also hope it raises awareness of the year abroad experience. Links to published articles are at the bottom of this page.


The final family holiday before France

Pre-departure fear

Packing, photos and the perils of parking

So many goodbyes…


The year abroad begins: first impressions

Adjustment: dreams, teaching and letters

The language assistant induction weekend


Chats with old French ladies, Granville and my love

Christmas market in Rennes, Brittany

Celebrating one week until home (with a stinking cold)


A trip to Mont St Michel with fellow language assistants

Valentine’s surprises, feeling lost and Les Misérables

Visit from a dear friend and heading home


Teaching and travels to Saint Lô

A birthday abroad: R’s 21st

Sunny days and goodbye meals

Freedom! The end of ELA and an era

Relaxation and saying my goodbyes

Dad arrives! World tour of Normandy (last entry from France)


Birthdays, bright boxes and books

Leaving my job: the farewell party

A general guide to saying goodbye

The night before

Finally in France


First visit from the boyfriend (and culture shock)

A few days in Paris with K, my flatmate

My mum arrives (thank God)

Telling the truth about solitude

Thanksgiving and travels in Bayeux


Countdown to New Year in Inverness 

Goodbyes, airports, and second impressions of France

Snow hits my sleepy Norman town

Visit from the boyfriend and further adventures in Normandy

School trip to the WWII cemeteries


Spring in Scotland and the hills of home

Flatmate fun and Normandy sunshine

{further thoughts}

Year A-Bored (Glasgow Guardian)

The other side of a year abroad (Source Magazine)

Macarons and the things I miss

Mont St Michel: a photo gallery

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