Bordeaux’s Cultural Vibe


(Some of us at a wine chateau in Saint-Emilion right outside of Bordeaux)

The most interesting and enjoyable thing to me about Bordeaux and this whole experience abroad has been the variety of culture  among all of the students here at BeM.  BeM has a large focus on international studies, and consequently, there is a large international student population.  There are people from literally all over the world here.  It’s interesting to take a step back and see how the rest of the world operates, in their habits, their communication, their views, their presentation in and out of the classroom, their food, their partying, and just their all-around persona.  In many ways, we’re not all so different, and in many other ways, we’re very different.  Our similarities and differences have helped us build a very unique student culture vibe.  I’ve developed some really great friends and had some really awesome experiences since I’ve been here.


 (Hassan (left), myself (right), and our very good Basque friend, Jon (center), glowing for a show in Paris)

Since the school has such a large focus on international studies, we spend a good amount of time in our classes looking at subjects from an international perspective.  For instance, when we split into teams for case studies, it’s interesting to see how different the approaches taken are among the different teams.  Or even more so, it’s REALLY interesting to be a part of a team composed of students from three or four different countries, proposing different solutions among us, and working together to comprise a final solution for the case.  I know that this international experience is greatly preparing me for future ventures of my own that will indeed involve intercultural teamwork.

The French students of BeM are very involved.  There are many student organizations, such as Melting Potes, the international student organization that has helped a lot in integrating us into the student life here, The Sports Association, The Art Association, and many more.  All of them are always organizing different events and trips and parties, so it’s been very easy to get to know new people, both French and international students.  This experience has been a blast so far, in meeting new people, developing good friendships, traveling, and learning in a little different style.  Anyone who is considering this abroad experience, I would highly encourage you to take it.  I myself was a little unsure when this opportunity just presented itself to me out of nowhere, thanks to Allie Goatley.  But the experience has been a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m so glad I jumped on.

-Matt Eldridge

Sorry I am late!!

My apologies that this post is coming so late, but better now then never!

So this is going to be essentially part one of two posts; one about life in Bordeaux and the other about my travels around Europe.

Bordeaux - Plaza de la Bourse

Life in Bordeaux:

Bordeaux is a smaller city of around 1 million inhabitants (including the suburbs around the main city), in the region of Aquitaine in the southwest of France. Technically our school is located in Talence, which also happens to be where I live, but it is a only a short 20-30 minute walk and tram ride from the main city. The center of Bordeaux is a gorgeous old European town complete with stone walkways, giant arches, a gothic cathedral, and a beautiful riverside walkway. The city is full of small cafes and restaurants, but also has a wide variety of shopping. In fact one roadway is one of the longest shopping stretches in Europe, Rue St Catherine (options vary from inexpensive to very expensive). Bordeaux is most famous for being the center of the major French wine region, and as you traverse from store to market to cafes to restaurants you will notice the incredible wine options. Some supermarkets have wine sections that rival in size to their food sections. So obviously while you are here you have to try a variety of the local flavors. Unfortunately I have only been to one vineyard (chateau) but I hope to visit a few more as the weather is warming up.

Bordeaux ecole de Management

As for school life here, it works significantly different then back home. Let me start with an introduction to BeM (pronounced as it is spelled and not by each letter individually). The Bordeaux ecole de Management is a graduate school that students enter after their first two years of university. It is a private school and at around 6000 Euros per year, it is considered on the expensive side for education. Most of the students start with some more basic undergrad business classes before they choose one of the many MBA degree paths offered. Our path as exchange students is the basic management degree but there are a variety of specialty degrees here, including a Wine MBA. Each semester is broken up into a series of three week sequences (4 in the fall and 6 in the spring). During the spring you have two separate one week breaks that occur between sequences 6 and 7 and 8 and 9. Basically you take only one class for 3 weeks, do all the projects, cases, papers, and exams and then you are finished with that class. They feel a bit like UofL’s May semester (if you have taken a course during the May Summer Semester). However you will find that during these 3 weeks your teacher may vary from day to day and your schedule can be very erratic. Some days we had the same teacher for 6 hours (four 1.5 hour periods), you may have multiple teachers in one day, and some days you might not even have class. The exam, if it exists, is almost always on the last Friday of the sequence. Also, the school has its own cafeteria, but a lot of us have found it better to walk up the street about 10 minutes to a student cafeteria called the Crous. There you get an entrée, salad, and desert for only 2.85 euro which is about as cheap as any meal will come in France. The students at BeM also are very involved and there are always school group sponsored parties and events going on throughout the week and on weekends. Overall, even if the format is significantly different, going to school at BeM feels a lot like any other college experience, which is definitely a good thing!

My home in Talence

(this is not me in the picture, it is our friend Jon from the Basque Country)

Outside of school, life in France can be…interesting. From my experience, which includes traveling to multiple other European countries and living in Spain, the cost of living in France is very high; much higher than those of us who came here anticipated. If you do not live in Domofrance (which is BeM’s equivalent to a dorm) expect to pay higher rent, gas, electric, water, and internet bills. Also coming to Bordeaux in the spring makes it very difficult to find accommodation because most places only offer 1 year leases and almost all of leases are started at the end of summer or the beginning of fall. Matt and I found a place in Talence that some former students had used during the fall, but had returned home for the spring. We are located about a 30 minute walk from school in one direction and about 30 minutes from the Bordeaux city center in the other direction. Eating out is very expensive, even fast food. For example, a McDonald’s Menu (McDs is incredibly popular here) can cost between 6-7 Euros. Eating out a restaurant will cost a minimum of 15 Euros for food only (not including any beverage). Like most students during college, we learn to live a lot off pasta and sandwiches because they are cheap! Also the Boulangeries (Bakeries) have delicious baguettes that I eat almost every day. On a side note, I think I have upwards of 25+ croissants since I have been here. The best advice I can give any student coming to France, is learn to live as cheap as possible and then safe your money for traveling and weekend excursions.

I will be back with part 2 of this post that includes some of the many trips I have taken with friends during this study abroad!

Spring Bling


This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Spring Bling in West Palm Beach, FL. My department did not go so I worked with a lady from our Specials department. The first assignment I had to undergo was handing out premiums to the audience which were “Spring Bling” tatoos. My next assignment for the day was assisting with the models. Yes, all the lovely young people you see on stage at Spring Bling are actually models. Once the models went on stage I was done for the day so I was thrilled to sit back, relax and enjoy the show from backstage. I met all of the artist as they came through and most of them were actually friendly. I went home exhausted and was sunburned for the first time in my life!

The next day I arrived early in the morning because I volunteered to help with the prodution of the show. Babysitting models was fun and all but I felt as if I could contribute more. The producer called my boss to see if I could work with him the entire day but she declined. Apparently, the person I had worked with the previous day specifically requested to have me back because I was a good worker. So I was honored to be remembered but also a little upset because I had to turn down a better job.

My task this day was to help set up the props for the game shows/contests that would be taking place. It was a little cloudy and there were scattered showers throughout the day but the show must go on. All in all, it was a great experience and I would volunteer to work it every year! *though I hope they remember me and will offer to pay me to come back 🙂

This trip I did not make the same mistakes as I did at Rip the Runway. I was networking and met a lot of great people. Aside from artists, I met producers, photograhers, models, dj’s ect and tried to get as much contact information as possible.

After the show BET throws a Wrap Party for its staff. Rick Ross, a rapper from Florida, came through and partied with us for a portion of the night. After that I ran into Q45, BET personality and DJ who hosted Rap City, at a restuarant and got to hang out with him and his friends. 

For now, its back to the office. We are working on one of our biggest advertising campaigns of the year, “Upfront”. Upfront is an event where we show advertisers a preview of the shows we will have coming out and try to get them to commit to buying advertising time upfront. I will keep you posted on how that goes!

The photos are from me on the set, behind the scenes and Rick Ross at the Wrap Party.