Time is Flying!

I cannot believe that as I am writing this I have been abroad for just a week short of three months! The time here has been nothing but amazing. Since writing last I have had the opportunity to travel some in between classes. A large group of students from the US, Canada, and Turkey went to Barcelona, Spain for our first break. It was absolutely amazing. After the four days in Barcelona we traveled to Paris for a couple, and saw the main sights.

Last week a large group of us were in Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day. We got to see a huge parade and literally everyone in the city wearing green, whether is was a crazy hat, face paint, scarfs, shoes, you name it and it was green. The best part of the trip to Ireland though was the day we went to the west coast and saw the Cliffs of Moher. They are absolutely unbelievable. They stand 750 feet above the ocean and looking at the pictures doesn’t do the experience justice. If you ever get the opportunity to travel into Ireland go to the Cliffs of Moher before you leave.

Yesterday I bought my plane tickets to Greece for my week long break in April. I couldn’t be more excited! Our group currently consists of four and we are planning on spending a few days in Athens and then possibly making it out to one of the Islands around the city.

I have also taken several trips within France, and feel as though I know Paris like the back of my hand. Being a group of college students, on our way home from Ireland we thought, “Our plane is landing around 10PM and our train back to Bordeaux is at 6:30 AM so we don’t need to get a place to stay for that night, we can walk around Paris and see the city at night.” This would have been the perfect plan had it not been the first time in two weeks that we had experienced rain. It made for a great time with friends, lasting memories, and we even learned a Russian card game while sitting outside of the train station waiting to head home. And how many other people can say they have been standing underneath the Eiffel Tower at 3 a.m.?

I absolutely would trade this experience for anything! From being waterlogged in Paris, to walking through the museums, to being in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day, I honestly could not ask for a better semester. If anyone reading this is on the fence about study abroad you definitely need to go.

Starting a New Decade in Bordeaux

As I think about my time in Bordeaux, France so far, incredible is only word I can use to describe it. The city is absolutely beautiful, even in the winter. I will admit that it was all a little intimidating at first, as I speak almost no French, but the people of Bordeaux, and the other exchange students from all around the world have made it extremely enjoyable. The lifestyle in France is very different from that of Louisville. Walking distances that would be unheard of back home is an everyday event here, and relying completely on the use of the public transportation system is a totally new experience for me as well. In Bordeaux we are lucky enough to have a tram that covers most corners of the city, and takes us directly to our school.

Our school, Bordeaux ecole de Management (BeM) is completely different from anything I had expected. When comparing BeM with UofL the two seem so far apart. BeM is not in the heart of the city, it actually takes me about 40 minutes to get out to the school in the mornings, between walking and about a 25 minute tram ride. The school day is also completely different. BeM operates on a sequence system instead of the normal semester system that we operate on. I actually just took a final in my first sequence today, It’s hard to believe that I have been here long enough for a sequence to be over already! Because they don’t use semesters for teaching, as you can imagine the class schedule is a little more intensive than we have back home. A day at school can go be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., with a couple coffee breaks, and an hour and half for lunch at noon.

One of the great things about this program is that there are so many other international students here as well. Never in my life would imagine that I would be able to say I have friends from Canada, Mexico, Panama, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, and Russia in my classes. It has been really cool to get to spend time with the other students, and learn about their home countries (what they do for fun, and other aspects of their cultures). Once you get to your study abroad it is definitely worth the effort to come. Even if it does take your bag 17 days to arrive.

I haven’t had the opportunity yet to travel outside of France, but look forward to doing that soon. The european railway system makes the traveling so easy, as well as the very inexpensive flights from country to country over here. Tomorrow I get to experience my first European Soccer game, which from what I hear will a crazy atmosphere!