Like with college, every day is a new day with a different schedule and different events, but of course, there are aspects that stay the same. In general, living in Nantes, France is like living in a big, modern city with public transportation and a lot of walking. Coming from a small town, it’s a bit overwhelming, yet exciting because there are so many opportunities and things to do. No matter how much I compare and contrast in my head, the one daily reminder is of the mix of modern and ancient architecture. Such wonderful stone and artwork from centuries ago living alongside modern ideas and inventions blow my mind. As I walk across cobblestone, I cannot help wondering who else walked the same path? What was their life like? How did they see the world? When history is right in front of you in such a magnificent form, how can you not think of it or admire it?
Every morning around 8 a.m., I step out the front door of my host family’s house and walk across the street to the bus stop. The French don’t eat much for breakfast as lunch and dinner are more important, so most mornings my choices are madeleines (popular little pastries), an apple, brioche (a sweet bread that I recommend), or a regular baguette (maybe with jam or Nutella), or whole-grain cereal similar to Special K with milk. Most times, I grab something and run out the door since it’s so early. I wait for the bus which can take a while, and I put my mask on and show my bus pass before boarding. It’s around 15-20 minutes depending on traffic. I press the red stop button and get off at my stop closest to the IES Abroad center. After a roughly 5-minute walk past Place Graslin, I reach the center, go up the stairs or elevator, punch in the code, and say “Bonjour!” Every morning except one day that’s 15 minutes later, my classes begin at 8:30 a.m. I’m grateful for it because it helps me get an early start for the day, helping me benefit more and profit from life.
As for my courses, they are all in French as that is the focus of the program: learning French. Personally, I decided to take all of my classes at the IES Abroad center instead of also taking a course at the University of Nantes. It was not for me, and I did not want to stress myself out more given all the changes I’ve endured already. Out of my five courses, one of them in French is a teaching internship, where I’m able to spend 4 hours a week helping French students learn English in their school. For me, I handle middle schoolers who I adore. My other classes function similar to other college courses but with assignments and a varied load where some professors demand more class prep than homework assignments and vice versa.
Outside of class, I spend most lunchtimes preparing sandwiches out of the groceries I got from Monoprix. Sometimes I go to bakeries or restaurants with other students. Before I go back home, I hang out with other students, share a few laughs, work on homework, participate in activities planned either at the center or around the city, and run any needed errands.
When I get off the bus and get back home, I talk with my host family and put my stuff up in my room. A lot of times, I find it better to focus on homework in my room, so I finish up work in there. Normally, the French eat dinner later than Americans, and at my host family’s house, we eat around 8 p.m. At dinner, we sit at the dining table in the kitchen, talk about anything including upcoming plans, politics, history, etc., and we eat a filling dinner. Typically, we start off with a salad, then we eat the main course followed by a bit of cheese. Most times it involves goat cheese because that’s my host sister’s favorite type. We finish with a dessert, like some sort of yogurt or a crème au chocolat most times. After that, I might spend some time with my host in the living room, but most times, I’m so busy that I go back to my room to work on schoolwork before going to bed. Voilà! That’s a typical day for me.
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<p>Hello, everyone! My name is Daisy Humphries. I am a senior double majoring in Psychology and French at Wofford College. I am a first-generation college student from a small town in South Carolina, and I am beyond excited to share these once-in-a-lifetime experiences with you all from my humble perspective. I love to read, write, travel, eat food, and spend time with my family. I'm also quite determined and ambitious even if it scares me, but hey, what's bravery without some fear and nervousness? As I've learned, you have to be uncomfortable to change for the better, so let's do that!</p>