Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

TU Citizen: Meredith Connelly

short-haired woman in blue sweater

"I asked her what was wrong and she was the picture of reassurance ('Tout est bien, tout est bien') until I tried to cut another slice and there it was again--the groaning. Apparently I was not only cutting the slices of cheese wrong (each cheese has a specific cutting technique) but I was also eating them in the wrong order (strong cheese ruins your palette for subsequent, milder cheese). I remember running on two hours of sleep listening to a full breakdown of Proper French Cheese Etiquette™ thinking, 'This is gonna be a long semester' And it was. A semester full of linguistic flubs (pro tip: préservatif is NOT a cognate) and embarrassing faux pas from demolishing a sideview mirror with my bike on a routine bread run to utterly failing at eating an artichoke. Beyond language immersion and a deep appreciation for my host family, I think that sense of discomfort, of submitting to being made ridiculous by your own ignorance, is the most important lesson I took from that semester. Traveling is like that feeling of entering a stranger's home for the first time; tentative, off-balance, unsure of where to arrange yourself within a space constructed without reference to you. But eventually you settle in,  you admire the objects on the shelves, you exchange pleasantries with your host. Will you leave with a full understanding of who that person is? No--nor should you expect to. But that brief glimpse behind the curtain is a good place to start."

Back to TU Citizens