If there's one piece of advice I could give anyone studying abroad in France it would be to take day trips! France has a 'covoiturage' system where drivers share their vehicles in order to take people from place to place. It's comparable to Uber, but can be used for much longer distances. Students, workers, and all types of people covoiturage all over France as it is an extremely cheap mode of transportation and you usually end up having some pretty nice conversations along the way. From Nantes in particular, one could easily go to Angers, Saint-Nazaire, or La Rochelle by sharing a ride with someone.
On Easter Sunday a friend and I decided to go to the city of Rennes for a day and just walk around and enjoy each others company. So we took advantage of the covoiturage system and were quickly on our way! We happened to be sharing a car with a few students who were nice enough to give us a few tips on how to make the most out of our day there. One of them even took the train with us to make sure we made it to the city center without getting lost.While in Rennes we visited the local cathedral, ate crepes and found this cool restaurant that had chicken wings! (They weren't hot wings but it's France, you take what you can get.) The architecture in Rennes was immensely similar to that of Nantes, but the city defintely had a different vibe. Being that it was Easter Sunday, the streets were basically empty but I enjoyed being able to walk around at my own pace and take everything in.
After exploring the city center for about half an hour, my friend and I found the aforementioned restaurant and ended up staying there for a little over two hours. We talked about our experience abroad, how different we'll feel when we go back home, and what we'll miss the most about France. Of course our conversation wasn't completely in French but we did the best we could, it's always so hard to keep up appearances when you're with another American. One thing I already sense myself missing about France is the ability to just talk for hours on end with someone about anything. I'm an introvert so one on one interaction is usually best for me, and it's even better when I get to talk about the topics I'm extremely passionate about. Finding a random cafe or restaurant that doesn't try to shove you out the door after you've finished your meal will be a bit difficult once I return home, but I'll find some way to make it happen.
On another note, I never thought I'd have the whole "I can't believe my study abroad experience is coming to an end" thought process but it has definitely set in. I only have a few weeks left in Nantes and I don't know how to process it. I'm constantly avoiding looking too long at my calendar and ignoring the fact that it's already April. I'll have to accept it at some point, but I'm just not ready yet.
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<p>Chandra Dickey is a junior at Scripps College in Claremont, California studying Politics, International Relations, and History. She is really excited to journey to Nantes, as it is her first time out of the United States. While abroad she hopes to learn more about Nantes’ rich history, try a bunch of new foods and learn the many quirks of the French way of life. </p>