When moving your life to a new country you need a place that feels like home. Where after a long day you have someone to talk to, and is interested in what happened. I am very fortunate to have that home in Paris with my host mom. From the moment I met my host mom she greeted me with nothing but open arms, and a big plate of food. To have a little background knowledge on my host mom she is fluent in French, English, Italian and Hebrew. She is also day care psychologist for children with autism.
After living with my host mom for almost three months, and having multiple conversations on topics like religion, politics, and everything you could possibly think of I’ve enjoyed and taken advantage of a completely different perspective on life. Having two grown children herself she has wanted me to feel like I’m home, and that if I need ANYTHING she would be there. Always encouraging me to go explore not only Paris, but Europe as a whole. To learn, grow, and expereince a different type of life style you don’t get in the US. Sitting down with me at the kitchen counter explaining the history of countries and why it is the way it is today. My perspective on life, and why systems are put in place is changing all because of HER.
I believe one conversation that will stick with me forever is the conversation we had one night after dinner about religion. For those who don’t know France is a secular state, meaning, it discourages any religious involvement in government affairs. Which I believe is extremely different than the United States, and how our government works. Trying to understand this culture and gain the proper knowledge I asked my host mom what she thought about it, and her perspective on religion as a whole.
After our long conversation I learned that the main goal of religious secularism in France is to have peace, justice, and strong institutions. To have quality education, and reduce inequalites across the state. But, to understand why a system is put in place, and why it works in a specific location you have to look at the specific country’s history, and where it came from. Before studying abroad I knew history had a big impact on politics, systems, and the way law is implemented, but when studying and focusing on a different country you learn a lot on why specifics matter. In France’s case, it’s the French Revolution, and when you learn from a perspective of a citizen of that country who has lived there their whole life you see a different type of knowledge and practice of beliefs. The perspective of my host mom about religion in government challeneges what I’ve known my whole life. But, I also find it extremely fascinating that this is how France is trying to develop a sustainable community for its citizens.