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Fake and Real Aspects of the Travel Lifestyle on Social Media: What You See Isn’t the Complete Picture

June 27, 2019
Julie, Wandermom, in Nantes, France. The travel lifestyle often looks shiny, but it’s not always easy. You don’t see homesickness, long distance relationships, tears on pillows on Instagram–you don’t feel what a heavy heart feels like when you’re across the ocean from someone you love.

The travel lifestyle often looks shiny, but it’s not always easy. You don’t see homesickness, long distance relationships, tears on pillows on Instagram–you don’t feel what a heavy heart feels like when you’re across the ocean from someone you love. – Julie,

Not pictured above: Dirty Laundry: The agony, struggle, heartbreak, sadness, frustration, the buckets of tears, and ups & downs of a difficult month of slow travel.

The travel lifestyle often looks shiny and irresistibly tempting on Instagram (or anywhere on social media, for that matter),

An addictive rush,

New places, new people–

New everything whenever or wherever the mood or opportunity strike,

A chance to be who you are without preconceptions or limitations,

But the truth is,

It doesn’t matter where you go,

Or where you are now,

Or how popping your insta page is,

Everyday is a new day to–





Recommit to

Who you are,

Who you aren’t,

What you need

What you want–or don’t

Where you ultimately want to go,

Everyday is a new day

To do your laundry–

To clean up,

To shine brighter than anything that could ever possibly be contained or displayed in square boxes.

To make this life yours.

To do you.

-Julie, Wanderschool

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How You, Your Teen, or Your Homeschooler Can Study or Go to University in France

June 27, 2019
My teenager reading “90210” in French on the train to Paris; she found the book in a free “Little Library” near the station.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching how my teenagers can gain admission to university in France. My oldest teen is currently taking university classes in the United States, however, she wants to explore her degree granting options in Europe.

She is particularly interested in going to France.

First, off, that pesky little language thing. While I am no expert, my research does consistently point to the need for demonstrated French language proficiency to gain entrance into universities in France. The French are big into diplomas and certificates for just about everything.

So, if you, your teen, or your homeschooler is already a French speaking pro. Cross the language hurdle off your list.

However, if French skills are lacking, you have options. Beyond the obvious, yet complicated, option of packing everything up and relocating to France (or another French speaking region, such as Quebec, Canada), you can consider language schools, American school/university exchanges, work exchanges, or trying to gain university admission that will grant admission, but require preparatory courses before beginning credited course work.

To demonstrate French skills, you or your student will like have to prove language skills by way of DELP or DALF diplomas. From my research, these diplomas are awarded by the French Ministry of Education. Language schools or self-study guides can prepare you for the tests.

If you make your way to France, there are language schools that offer weekly classes for beginners, as well as many teachers offering private lessons. A few years ago, when I spent a month in Paris with my children, they attended language school for one week; I probably would have enrolled them for a longer period of time, however, I wanted to spend time exploring the city with them!

Campus France

Non-French residents, such as American students, can find schools, programs, entry requirements, visa information, and apply for those programs in France through Campus France. My research suggests that students who already have degrees or are beyond their first year of post high-school studies can contact and apply to schools directly.

Recently, I met a California woman in Nantes, France, who was working on her Master’s Degree at the local university. She explained that admission itself was straightforward, but that there was a lot of paperwork to do. Lots and lots of paperwork is so very French. She explained that when she arrived she had zero French language skills, but she was required to enroll in the university’s French as a foreign language courses before she could proceed with fulfilling the requirements of her degree.

Funky Degree Names

When you are researching French schools, don’t be surprised when you see the term ‘License’ which is used to describe the Bachelor level of studies in France. Master and doctoral level degrees are also available to pursue, and they seem to use familiar naming conventions that most Americans are likely to understand.

Cost of Higher Education in France

The significantly lower cost of higher education in France is likely worth the time and effort that might be required of taking French classes, passing any language proficiency tests, or going further in university studies. Non EU-students, while they have to pay differentiated registration fees, still pay a much lower price tag for university education than that in the US, thanks to French government tuition subsidies.


Homeschooling is a legal and acceptable, although still uncommon, way to complete education requirements in France. Accordingly, it’s my understanding that there is a route for French homeschoolers to attend university (typically, they have to satisfy tests), so it stands to reason that homeschoolers from outside France who can satisfy requirements (e.g., diploma, transcripts of their home place or satisfy tests) should also be eligible for admission. In the coming months, my family may go down this route, and if so, I’ll write an update.

If your homeschooler has gained admission to a French university, please leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experiences, as I’m sure my readers would also appreciate learning about them.


Should You End a Trip Early and Go Home When You’re Homesick?

June 26, 2019

This past Spring, I was a hot mess during the first few weeks of a nearly three month trip.

Should I stay? Should I go now? These were the questions that played on repeat in my mind almost as soon as my flight landed. Walking off the jet bridge toward bagging claim, my mind was racing with future uncertainties about a big work-life move. I wasn’t sure whether the timing of this trip, with all of its unknowns, was right. Then, I encountered disappointment with my long stay rental, travel plans, and the weather, and had to deal with some personal matters. To top it off, my children weren’t all that happy either–surely absorbing my own energy and lack of enthusiasm. Everything combined at once felt like a lot. It was certainly enough to fuel doubt about staying the course.

I didn’t leave that trip early. Although I surely contemplated leaving dozens of times. I am truly grateful I stayed on through the homesickness and doubt. Although it started off rough and had some lows, the nearly three month trip had some unbelievably amazing highs. I can already see the value the trip has in my life–the lessons I’ve already learned and the gifts it has given me, but perhaps most importantly, the gifts it has given my children.

*I wrote the post that follows in 2016 and posted it on another blog. After reflecting back on my recent experience, it seemed relevant and important to share here on Wanderschool, so I’m posting it with minor edits. I would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.

Should you cut a trip short and go home when you’re feeling homesick?

So everything is going wrong.

At least it feels like it is.

You are homesick. Really homesick.

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