My mental health has definitely impacted my time abroad. I was petrified to talk to French people the first few weeks because I was so nervous about how they would perceive me. I get extreme anxiety talking in French to other American people, as well as French people. I could not submit my homework assignments without checking a thousand times that it was perfect, and then a thousand times after that I actually submitted the right document. The time difference, schedule, and workload caused me to rarely speak to my family, and my mental health would’ve appreciated me talking to them more. I usually like being alone, but it is different being alone in a foreign country. I was not aware of how bad my mental health was until I felt myself breaking down. Over time, I learned how to adjust to these issues, such as through keeping a schedule to call my parents and working with friends to socialize with locals, and in the end I found a good balance.

However, my time abroad has also positively impacted my mental health. I usually obsess over what I am eating, my weight, and how much I exercise, but this trip I decided not to worry about what I was eating as long as I was enjoying it. I ate three large meals a day that were all delicious and I never punished myself with a run, but instead rewarded myself with a nice long walk or hike. Over the past six weeks my body has changed, but so has my mind, and I am not upset about either development. I am so happy with how I have lived the past few weeks that I do not regret a single choice. The food culture here has been so positive for my mental health. I tried so many new restaurants and had so many great conversations while eating with people I love. I feel like I fed my soul good food too, and I feel like I am returning to the United States with a more positive outlook on life and body image.