Friday, October 01, 2010

Kristen K. - Nantes, France - Fall 2010

Bonjour mes amies! I am in the wonderful city of Nantes in France! The flight here was long and painful (from sleeping in weird position) but seeing the Eiffel Tower, le Louvre, et l'Arc de Triomphe made it all worth it! From Paris I had to take a 2 hour train to get to Nantes and this is where I met a lot of people from my program (IES). Now all of the horrible rumors of France are all false! (Or at least that is what I think.) There were so many French natives that are patient with you, et (even though they don't smile on the street) si you ask for help they are more then grateful to!

The first couple of weeks were hard (which is what I was expecting) but I'm pretty sure I have had the most problems out of anyone in my program. Within the first week, my credit/debit card was eaten and the bank couldn't give it back to me for some strange reason. Because of this, I ended up running out of money...But! All of my friends, host parents, and IES staff where more then willing to lend me some money!

Then (just this past week) my laptop broke! This was a huge suprise for me! It was my life and I didn't know how to live without it! But now I kind of think of it as a little blessing (even though I would rather it work...)! Because I'm not spending all my time on a computer, I'm seeing more of this amazing city! It is filled with so much history and every where you go there are beautiful buildings and gardens and so many wonderful cafes and bakeries! I know that I've definately gained weight here from all of this food! All the food is so amazing! When I first arrived I hated all see food and tomatoes but now I can't stop eating them!

This is all that I can think of right now but if you have any questions or anything at all I will be glad to answer!

14 Comments:

Anonymous Kaylyn said...

Reading this I felt so bad for you that everything seemed to go wrong at first! I'm so glad you had a positive outlook on those situations because I know I'm sure they were difficult. If it weren't for those instances, would you say adjusting to your surroundings was quite easy or still hard to get adjusted to quickly?

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Kaylyn,
I was actually suprised how easy it was for me to adjust! IES (my program) had a 10 day oriantation which I think helped everyone feel more comfortable in France. And I'm pretty sure that all programs aren't going to leave anyone completely alone and having to fend for themselves. lol I was expecting more of a culture shock when I first came but so far, I haven't felt too panicky or overwhelmed!

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY KRISTEN!!!
First i miss you...(it's paige marshall by the way!)
I hope you are having the greatest time ever and I'm sad I won't be seeing you for a year!!

Second, I have to ask questions. So, I was wondering if everything is transferring ok? and Are your classes what you expected??

HAVE A FANTASTIC TIME!
Paige :)

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow! I'm sorry you had a bit of bad luck at first! But it sounds like everything is going smoother, I hope so at least! May I ask, since I will be in an IES program myself, how you picked your classes? Are you taking classes mostly in French? - Amelia K.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Kristen King said...

Paige!
I know!!! I'm so sad!!! This is so long without seeing you! But that just means we will have to hang out all the time and update each other on everything!!!

And second!!!
Everything with credits is easy! I had to email my teachers when I got here to ask what the EC class would be and kinda bother a lot of them but they did send back and email kinda quick and everything is all happy! And classes are kinda what I thought they would be...I'm taking no classes in English so its hard but the teachers kinda go easy on you...And studying abroad is for traveling a lot and the teachers know that so they try not to give you tons of work...meaning my weekends are basically free all the time!

But yeah! If you have any other questions or anything I would love to answer them! I love and miss you and have funnnnn!!!!

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Kristen King said...

Amelia K!
What IES program are you doing? If it's Nantes, all of the classes are in French (unless you take an english class at the University). If it's the Paris one I think all but one of your classes can be in English.
Picking out the classes was kinda easy for me. I wanted to take the ones where I thought it would improve my french. Also, I spoke with people that were in this program last year and they told me some of the "fun" classes to take. There are also tons of options at the University and that can seem overwhelming but if you see a class you think sounds intersting, totally go for it! French Schools are very different then schools at the US but you can always ask for help and IES has a lot of people to help you out too! (Sorry for all the writing...lol) But have fun and if you have any more questions I'm happy to answer!
~Kristen King

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Kaylyn said...

I was wondering what kind of classes are you taking? Would you suggest taking GenEds if they are available or trying to take courses related to a major?

I have some GenEds that I can take while studying abroad, but I think taking a class relating to my major (accounting) would be interesting in getting an international perspective.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Kristen King said...

Kaylyn,
I am a French and business major so all of my classes go towards my major. I am taking a business class though and, because it's in French, it is very challenging for me. I would personally recommend taking mostly gen eds but try to take a class for your major (if it sounds interesting!). It is very cool seeing the different views that my French business teacher has (especially when he talks about the US).

Really though, take classes that you think will be fun/interesting (and maybe easy). Just try to get the most out of everything! And try to do activites at the University (like salsa dance or rockclimbing)!

8:40 AM  
Blogger wallflower1332 said...

Kristen King!

I had not remembered actively that you were going to be gone this semester. I'll be gone in spring; it'll have been a whole year when I see you next!

I'm just curious about what kinds of culture shock you might be experiencing- especially with regard to language (which you already touched upon). Also, what culture shock experiences did/do you have with your host family?

Missing you,
Ally Vertigan

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Matt F said...

Do you think that you are more adjusted now than you were when you first got to France or does if feel like something new hits you each day?

Hope you liking France regardless!

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Kristen King said...

Hey Ally!

That makes me sad that I wont see you for so long! But I know you will have tons of fun when you go abroad!

I feel like I didn't really experience culture shock when I came here. I was really expecting to and I think that's what helped me not get it. Does that make sense? lol I know that some people in my program did go through some really hard times though but if you are, you just need to go out and do things all the time! And when Im speaking to people that only know French, there is a lot of acting out. It's kinda a lot of fun...

I did have to get use to new things with my family. For instance, when I take a shower I have to squat so I don't get water every where. And also only take 5 min showers. Also, it still is super akward for me because the mom of the house does all the work around the house. The children and father don't do anything. I ask her every day if I can help but she always says no. Oh! They also give me so much to eat because they think Americans eat all the time and are always hungry!

Good luck with everything and I can't wait to hear your stories when you come back!

~Kristen King

(The keyboards are also very very strange...)

3:50 AM  
Anonymous Kristen King said...

Matt F,

I feel like France is my second home now! I am basically comfortable with everything and use to all the random things that happen (like strikes every day). Every once in a while I get a little "shocked" by something. But in a good way, like my friends and I were doing homework in a castle, which in the US isnt something that we can do. lol But thank you! And good luck with your travels too!

~Kristen King

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think is the biggest difference between the U.S and France so far? Has that difference been difficult, adjusting-wise?

Margaret Z.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Kristen King said...

Margaret Z.

The biggest difference between France and the US? That's a very difficult question...But! Other then the language I would say just their way of life in general. Here they do not talk to any one or smile at anyone that they don't know. (not saying they aren't friendly because they are!) Also their schooling is very different. There is a lot of pressure and the students don't talk to the teacher or ask questions during class. And it took awhile at first but I feel like I have no major problems anymore. I still do smile and say bonjour to people though...

5:03 AM  

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