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Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy

For those of you who do not yet know me, let me introduce myself.  My name is Leah and I am a very proud GEMINI Model.  You may have seen some of my posts on the GEMINI blog before. As some of you may know, I started with GEMINI about 9 years ago.  I took three of their professional modelling courses and fell in love in the industry and company.  Since then I have been lucky enough to do multiple modelling jobs as well as working in the company as the Agency Administrator, Blog Writer, Birthday Party Coordinator and most recently became apart of the Fashion For Life Committee.

Cefalu, Italy
Cefalu, Italy

It’s safe to say that I was a very timid student in the GEMINI Classes and I have come a long way since those days. Those three years of GEMINI classes definitely gave me the confidence and courage to move 6000 km away from home to follow my dream. (Which says a lot for a girl who has only been on a plane once, 10 years ago to Florida).  Here is my story.

Burano (Venice), Italy
Burano (Venice), Italy

Where do I even begin? In September I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in France. This is something I have dreamed of for as long as I can remember and it honestly still doesn’t feel real – despite the two months that have already passed.

I can say that I have worked very hard to get where I am today. I started French immersion in grade one and continued until I finished high school. After high school I didn’t stop. Going to France was a dream deeply engraved into my mind and I wasn’t going to give that up no matter how hard the French courses turned out to be. At Laurier I continued my studies with a goal to complete a French minor. I took multiple grammar and cultural courses. I learned all about France’s history and French painters like Monet, Renoir and David. (Which made my experience in the Louvre much more memorable).  I have also somehow managed to continue full time school while having 2-3 jobs at one time in order to afford my trip.  It has been a long road but it has definitely been worth it.

Applying to study abroad was terrifying. The first three places I applied to, I got denied. That was a heartbreaking experience. I was devastated and demotivated.  It took me quite a few days to get over the rejection.  Once I was able to overcome this news, I found out I still had time to apply to a few more schools abroad.  When I finally did get accepted into a school, I learned that the acceptance was only based  through Laurier and I would need to apply again to the school directly. The whole application process was an emotional roller coaster. When the whole thing was finally over and I got accepted it took me well over two weeks before I told anyone (even my close friends and family). It didn’t seem real. Was my dream finally coming true?

Toronto Airport

Skip forward to late August after two months of trying to narrow down what clothes to pack and how I was going to fit all of my heels into one suitcase. I took the trip to Toronto with my nervous mother and caring sister (who took off work just to say goodbye to me at the airport). Saying goodbye was extremely difficult but the adventure ahead filled me with excitement.

Nantes, France

Now here I am, two months later and I have never felt so at home in a place so easily. I love the little city I am living in – Nantes, France. Its big tourist attraction is a huge mechanical elephant that rides around squirting water everywhere. (Youtube it – it’s hilarious and amazing.) The city is absolutely beautiful and I thank my lucky stars everyday that I didn’t get accepted into my first three choices because I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else besides Nantes. (I guess even rejection happens for a reason) 

I’ve been blessed to be able to travel with four amazing Canadians who I didn’t know before arriving here but we quickly connected. I’ve travelled all over Europe with them. We spent time in Barcelona, London and drove all across Portugal together. Our week off will be spent exploring the colosseum’s and canals in Italy and the picturesque mountains of Switzerland.

Harder Kulm (Interlaken), Switzerland
Harder Kulm (Interlaken), Switzerland

So I’m sure it seems as though I spend all of my time travelling, but I promise I am studying here too! Although I’m in the process of completing a Honours Psychology program at Laurier, I lucked out by receiving an acceptance into a masters program in Communication and Media. This is a field I’ve always been extremely interested in and can’t wait to use all I’ve learned towards my job with GEMINI Models. I’ve also met some amazing international and French students at school. People from all over the world that I know I will keep in touch with long after my journey is over.

I miss my family and friends an incredible amount. It’s also been hard for me to step away from GEMINI Models for the few months I have been away. They have been apart of my life for so long it feels like I’m missing family. I missed some amazing shows like Fashion On Yonge in downtown Toronto and the Wedding Trends Bridal show but I am so excited for when I return to continue working with them and volunteering my time towards being the social media and public relations coordinator of the Fashion For Life Show.

Porto, Portugal

If you have ever considered doing a term abroad but have some questions or are nervous about it, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send me an email at . Also, if you’d like to follow my adventures I will be posting photos to my instagram account @HallLeah.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow @GEMINIModels on instagram to see what they have been up to lately!

xoxo Much Love From France,


Lagos, Portugal

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