The First Few Days

Jessica Castellanos
June 30, 2015

So much has happened since I wrote last! My sense of time is messed up because I’m 7 hours ahead of everyone back home (my mom tells me I’m living in the future), but it feels like I haven’t been here for long enough to do all the things that I’ve already done.

When we first got here, we went to an orientation at a hotel for a few days. I didn’t know anyone, so it was nice to get to know the other people in the program. Not through painful get-to-know-you-games, though…we played eclectic French board games like “Monte Banana"...



My own host family was at a wedding 12 hours north of Arles when the orientation ended, so I went to stay with my friend Wendy’s host family. They were awesome; the first thing her mom did when she brought us home was run out to the veranda, grab figs off of her fig tree, and hand one to each of us, yelling, “Les figuiers! Les figuiers!” I happened to be staying with Wendy’s family the weekend of Father’s Day, or “La Fête des Pères” en français. The whole extended family came over and Wendy and I were invited to the giant 4-hour lunch party. We had cheese, quinoa, Greek pastries, and lots of bread. When we were getting ready to eat the cheese, one of the cousins wanted to tell us that it was goat cheese. Thinking we wouldn’t know the word for "goat," she put her fingers up by her ears to signal horns, and said en français, “It’s cheese from the animal that goes b-a-a-a-a.” We laughed and ended up teaching her the word for "goat" in English. That led to a discussion about animal noises and how they differ between languages. A rooster says “cock-a-doodle-doo” in America, but “coco-rico-rico” in France. Interactions like this, that are both amusing and teach me something about another culture, are the best part of being here.


I’m staying with my own host family now and I’ve started my classes, but I think I’ll give those things their own blog entries because there’s too much to tell…. bientôt! 

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Jessica Castellanos

<p>Jessica Castellanos is a freshman at Northwestern University majoring in Slavic Languages and Literatures and International Studies with a minor in Religious Studies. Even though her major revolves around the Russian language, Jessica loves the French language and French culture and she hopes to become fluent someday and use the language in her career. In her spare time, Jessica likes to run, volunteer with animals, and read.</p>

2015 Summer 1, 2015 Summer 2
Home University:
Northwestern University
International Studies
Slavic Studies
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