I’m Michelle Miller. A study abroad student, studying in France at the Université Paris Dauphine.
I’m a born and raised burqueno from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and proud of it.
I am in my third year as a University of New Mexico Lobo, and unlike many native New Mexicans, I actually really like going to school there. I am majoring in Business with concentrations in International Managements and Marketing, as well as a minor in French.
I just turned 21 in December 2014,
I have an amazing family: My mom, Jackie, my dad, Michael, my older sister, Jessica, my younger sister, Maya, my aunt, Misti, and my grandparents, Curt and Gloria. Obviously many other family members but this is my Albuquerque crew.
My perfect puppy Luna, who will turn two years old while I’m here in France..
And my wonderful boyfriend, Julian, who I’ve been with for the last four years.
Some of my hobbies and interests are French (of course), traveling (obviously), watching movies, hot yoga, racquetball, eating, going to museums, spending time with my family and friends, and training my puppy in agility :)
I love animals, especially dogs, and I’m really into the environment and love nature, although I’m a wimp when it comes to bugs, small animals, or bad weather. At school, I am interested in business obviously, and I enjoy marketing the most. I also really like psychology, particularly the psychology of human sexuality, which I find extremely interesting. I am a huge supporter of women, as well as the LGBTQ community. Obviously, I also enjoy my French courses at UNM, but felt like they weren’t enough to allow me to become fluent, which is one of the biggest reasons I decided to study abroad.
As far as work goes, I’ve worked at Dion’s, (for anyone who doesn’t know, that is a fabulous New Mexican pizza resaurant chain), I spent nearly two years working for family friends at their insurance agency, spent a few months working at Victoria’s Secret, and most recently worked for the winter season at Target to save money for my trip.
My whole family and I absolutely love sports! We are huge Lobo fans, Texas Tech Red Raider fans, Bronco Fans, 49er fans, Julian loves Texas, and the Steelers, and we love going to any games or events we can, whether it’s football, basketball, baseball, boxing, volleyball, hockey, whatever!
(I obviously love using pictures to describe things, so get ready for that!)
I grew up in the Northeast Heights and graduated from Sandia High School, and there is where I fell in love with France and the French language. When it was time for me to choose a foreign language to take in high school, I veered away from the obvious and practical choice in New Mexico, Spanish, and chose to pursue French. Why? I don’t really know.. I think at the time I thought French was “prettier” than Spanish and wanted to speak the language of love. Had I known I would later get into a long term relationship with someone who speaks Spanish at home, I might have taken a different path, but I ended up in Ms. Halpern’s French 1 class.
Jenny Halpern was (and still is) the French teacher at Sandia, and she really sparked my French obsession and became somewhat of a mentor for me. This woman is an extremely unique individual: She is a Jewish, New Jersey princess who has lived and studied abroad, speaks both French and Spanish fluently, and has studied other languages as well. She is fabulous, well-dressed, funny and smart, but also can be very spacey and easily forget what she was doing 5 minutes ago. If you were bored with grammar, you just had to ask her a French culture question and she would be off on a 30 minute rant about it, and it was much more interesting than vocab and grammar. She is fascinated by linguistics and by society itself and what makes it work. She really has a love for French culture and passed it on to me. I became completely obsessed with the idea of France and it became my ideal place, people, and culture. She also encouraged me to go on a trip to France which she organizes for her students when she has enough people who are passionate enough (and can afford) to go. While I was in high school, there were never enough students to make the trip, but you don’t have to technically be a high school student to go, so the summer after my freshman year of college, I was able to go to France for 2 weeks with her, some of her students, and some of the families of those students. I can make a whole separate post talking about this trip and sharing all my beautiful photos, but it was a dream come true for me! I loved it in France and was certain I wanted to come back, and continue studying the language, and get a minor at UNM in French, so much of my French success is thanks to the inspiration of Ms. Halpern!
When I returned from my trip, I had no intentions of studying abroad because I thought it would be too expensive, and I honestly thought I would never be able to be on my own, away from my close-knit family like that. However, midway through the spring semester of my sophomore year, I started feeling like I was missing out on the college experience. I had a 4.0 at UNM, but had never really made many friends or got involved in the Lobo community other than UNM basketball games. I usually only hung out with Julian and a few select friends, not that it’s a bad thing, but if they weren’t available, I was always at home, and not having fun. I wasn’t partying, I wasn’t meeting people, I wasn’t really making the best out of this great part of my youth, and I realized that all I was doing was stressing over school and over-working myself, when that’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life in my career. I decided that the only way I could really break out of my shell and get out and make some memories would be for me to study abroad. At first I didn’t tell anybody because I was still unsure about if I could handle it, and I was worried about the cost. I found myself thinking about living in France all the time, and realized this was most likely my only real legitimate opportunity to fulfill my fantasy of living in Paris. I finally made a powerpoint presentation to propose this to my parents, and everyone fully supported me.. except my grandmommy who couldn’t bear the thought of me being gone so long.
Obviously my family was very sad for me to leave them for so long, and Julian also took it really hard, but he also was the person who encouraged me to most to grow up and follow my dream.
Although cost was a concern, we went through the entire process of trying to study abroad (which is a headache and I’ll talk about that another time), and I finally made it here to Paris on the 2nd of January 2015. Of course it was hard to say goodbye, and at times I am really sad and miss them, and home so much, but I am very happy in Paris, and I decided to put a blog together to keep everyone updated on my trip, and give some advice and explanations to anyone who might be thinking of studying abroad in Paris, and how to avoid some of the problems I ran into along the way.
I am staying here for one semester, scheduled to return to the “505” on June 2nd, and I am attending one of the top business schools in France, which has many international students. I am hoping to do a lot of traveling and make many new friends. I also obviously am here to improve my French, and I hope to be fluent by the time I come back, but I know that will take a lot of work!
I will try to keep this blog as updated as possible, but sometimes it’s hard to find time with school and trying to live it up in Paris, but I really hope anyone who comes across this page will enjoy! Please feel free to leave feedback and comments, and feel free to get in touch with me if there’s anything specific I should talk about!
Oh, and a little tidbit on why I chose the name Roadrunner Abroad.. Well obviously, (or maybe not obviously for anyone who isn’t familiar with New Mexico) the state bird of New Mexico is the Roadrunner. I’ve been struggling with coming up with a name for my blog ever since I decided to start it, and I really wanted to choose something that connected me, a proud New Mexican, and my experience studying abroad in Paris. I didn’t want it to be too corny like “Albuquerque Girl in a Big World” or “MichelleInParis.com” but something a little more clever. I was undecided even up to the moment I was signing up for my tumblr account! While I was registering, tumblr popped out a couple random silly blog names but one of them sparked my idea to use a roadrunner as a representation of myself. I thought about how my dad really likes birds and has a nickname for each one of his girls: My mom is his Blue Jay, my little sister is his Hummingbird, my big sister is his Falcon, and I’m his Roadrunner. Who would have thought that a month or two of failed efforts to think of a name that was cleverly connected to me could lead up to one single spark of an idea. Anyways, I decided to roll with that and came up with the name Roadrunner Abroad, which I thought was easy to say and remember and made sense with the theme of my blog.
Also a huge thanks to one of my best friends, Danielle, who designed several logos for me to use, including the one you see at the top of the page. :)
So, here we go!