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Ileana Argyris – Studying Abroad in France!

Dive: Adventurer - International Living
Description: Has lived outside the country between 1 and 6 months
Level: Level 1
Level Requirements: Has lived in a foreign country in one city for at least 30 days
Certified On: Jun 16, 2020

Editor’s Note: On all dive certifications, we try to edit the writing as little as possible to preserve authenticity, personality, and writing style. We typically fix spelling errors, but minimally modify grammar and sentence structure (just enough to ensure readability).

Ileana Argyris

Name: Ileana Argyris Break Diving Level: Level 1 Number of Certified Dives: 6 From: United States In: United States

1. When and Why Did You Decide to Pursue This Dive At This Level? What was your inspiration and motivation?

I first decided to live abroad when I was in university. My university gave me the option to study abroad for a few credits, so I decided to go for it! I decided to study abroad in Lille, France because it was 30 minutes away from my grandfather. I had never met him before. Studying abroad was the perfect opportunity to live out some of my dreams and meet my grandfather.

2. How Long Did It Take For You To Accomplish This Dive At This Level From The Day You Decided To Pursue It, And Why Did It Take That Long?

It took about a year for me to accomplish my dream of studying abroad. I had to apply to the study abroad program and get my funds together to make my dream a reality. My study abroad program was in the summer, so I had to wait for the school year to finish before I could go to France. There was a lot of preparation to make it happen — language learning, trip planning, and discussions with various people at the university. I did not just study abroad, I also completed an internship.

3. What Was The Hardest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

The hardest part about achieving this dive was making the most of my time while I was in France. Living abroad as a student is completely different than being a visitor or living abroad normally. The first week or so I was extremely depressed. I was in a new environment, I was the only person from my university who decided to study abroad in that semester, and I could barely understand anything anyone was saying to me. It was a recipe for disaster!

4. What Was The Easiest Part About Achieving This Particular Dive Level?

The easiest part of the dive was making friends and connections with the people in my study abroad program. We were all part of this shared experience. We were going through the study abroad program together, so we understood the struggles we all were facing. Those who were better at French helped those who couldn’t speak a lick of French. Those who were more extroverted helped the more introverted by inviting them to hang out and explore the city. The university also was a lot of help and provided resources and tips on city life in Lille.

5. What Is Your Advice For Someone Who Is Pursuing This Dive And Level?

If you are going to study abroad, or live abroad in general:

  • Get an unlocked phone, or unlock your phone. In the US, many phones come locked to a cellular provider. Having a phone and getting a simcard is ESSENTIAL in other countries and it can make your life a lot easier. With a cellphone data plan, you don’t have to worry about finding wifi so that you can send messages to people more easily.

  • Get (a little) familiar with the language. I had studied French by myself and thought that I was okay at speaking and understanding, but being thrown into that native French environment was a completely different story! I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying to me because I wasn’t used to the pronunciation. Do yourself a favor and practice LISTENING.

  • Take advantage of being in your new environment. Make friends, tour the sites, and practice your languages. When is the next time that you’ll be somewhere where you can improve your foreign language skills with everyone around you? When is the next time you’ll be able to go to that museum, or that party? Don’t wait for others. Just do it!

6. What Are Some Of The Best Resources You Recommend to Those Pursuing This Dive At This Level, And Why Do You Recommend Them? Please Include Relevant Weblinks, If Applicable.

  • I recommend checking currency exchanges at least once every two days so you know what the exchange rate is. Any currency exchange will do, but the XE converter is the one that I use the most: https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

  • Facebook events and local groups make it easy to find events happening near you. Many events are open to anyone, so all you need to do is show up.

  • The Break Diving community has friendly helpful people in many different countries who have done a lot of traveling. You can find a lot of great advice there.

Resource 1: Break Diving - Everyone on here has traveled a lot. Come get amazing support.

Resource 2: XE Currency Converter - An invaluable tool.

Resource 3: -

Resource 4: -

Resource 5: -

7. Tell Us A Story Of One Of Your Adventures While Pursuing This Dive (At This Level).

I am generally good with directions, but one day during my time abroad I got completely lost.

I was on my way to meet some friends near my university. I decided to get off the metro a stop early because I thought that I would get to my destination more quickly. Big mistake.

My phone wasn’t unlocked (see above!), so it was practically useless without a wifi connection, so I could not use it to find my way. I tried to remember how to get to my university, but nothing looked familiar so I just kept walking.

I was stubborn and would not ask anyone for directions — honestly, I was just shy.

Finally, I ended up in an area where there were no people whatsoever. The streets were empty, everything was different, and it did not look like a very good area to be in. I was scared.

I finally saw someone who I could ask for help. I sucked it up and asked in broken French where the metro was…

He wasn’t from the area and couldn’t help.

Then he directed me to a shop nearby to ask them for help.

I was mortified.

The one time I use my French to ask for directions and the person wasn’t even from the city! I did not go to the shop to ask for help because I had taken a lot of time trying to build my courage to ask for help that first time, and if I went to the shop, I would have to do it all over again.

Instead, I walked around looking for signs. I followed the signs all the way back to the metro, then rode the metro all the way back to where I was staying.

I finally caught up with my friends after regaining wifi.

Morals of the story: Ask for help when you need it, regardless of the circumstances. Make sure you have a working cell phone! And never assume that English will always save the day — be sure to learn the local language.

8. What Evidence Did You Submit to Prove You Met the Requirements for This Dive and Level?

9. Will You Be Pursuing The Next Level For This Dive? If Yes, Why? If Not, Why Not?

Yes, and in fact, I have pursued the next level already for this dive on the Break Diving community! I love travelling and living abroad and I will continue to travel as long as I live!

10. What is the Break Diver's Creed?

No Rules. No Excuses. No Regrets.

Certificate photo:

And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Ileana Argyris is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: Adventurer - International Living - Level 1. Congratulations ! Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

Certificate number: 46

The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at Break Diving and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!

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