Life in Bordeaux, France

Although I’ve been in Europe for a couple weeks now, today marks the 3rd day of school here in Bordeaux. I’m attending Kedge Business school during my time here, and so far I am loving it. The school itself is brand new from remodeling (just reopened in January) and it really clean, modern, and everything I could have asked for in terms of atmosphere. Because we are only here for one sequence (one class) we have class this week every day from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, not exactly what I’m used to at U of L. Luckily next week we only have 3 half days and the following week only 4 half days. The course work seems fairly heavy too, considering we only have 3 weeks of class. I really shouldn’t complain though, our first day of class we went wine tasting :). Best field trip I’ve ever went on.

The city of Bordeaux is amazing as well. I’m living in an apartment style hotel in the middle of downtown so I can walk or take the tram to anywhere I would want to go in just a couple minutes. There are 5 other U of L students living in the same hotel as me too, so it’s been great having friends to hang out with!

Bordeaux is incomparable to any city I’ve been to in my life. It has a long, rich history yet it’s young and energetic. The streets are cobble stone and there is an abundance of trees, flowers, and gardens to give color to the city. The old buildings are all stone and up kept so well you’d think they were just built within the last year. In fact, the whole city is like that. I’m enjoying the whole atmosphere here. I already know I’m going to be sad to go in a couple of weeks when it’s time to head back to the states.

Before coming to Bordeaux, 3 other U of L students and I traveled around Germany and Italy for a jam-packed and adventurous 10 days. We explored Berlin’s rich historical sites and sat on the Berlin Wall, drank beer with the Germans in Munich, saw the Statue of David in Florence, hiked up a beautiful mountainside in Cinque Terre, saw the Pope in Rome, and climbed the largest sand dune in Europe outside of Bordeaux. The experiences I’ve had here have opened my eyes to new cultures and have been irreplaceable and incredibly valuable to me.

I need time to slow down so I can savor every day left here in Europe. This weekend we have plans to go to Paris, I can’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower in person!

Megan Nehus

Ces’t La Vie

Bonjour! I have officially settled in to this experience that I probably will never really believe. I’m in France! I knew I had dreams to come, but actually having them come true is invigorating!

We are currently in the three week program attend the business school, also known as Kedge. We are in Talence, a small town in Bordeux, which is right outside Paris. The biggest adjustment we had to make was adapting to the food. The U.S. is very big on instant gratification, so there will also most never be a time that fast food isn’t within reach. In France, they take their time with everything and enjoy sitting down in restaurants and eating food prepared as they order including meat cooking in house, fresh cheese, and at natural ingredients. I was so accustomed to being able to get a quick value meal at taco bell that not having this as an option made me feel like I was starving!!! Of course, after the dramatics passed, I realized this was the perfect time to enjoy some traditional French cuisine and live life as the French do. I loaded up on Noutella, baguettes, cheese, and dairy products. Needless to say, good habits die hard, so in addition to leaving with those French stables, I also left with burgers, peanut butter and jelly, sugar golden crisp, Pringles, and snickers. Many of these are considered specialty foods because most French people don’t consume them, and will laugh when you mention them.

I walk everywhere. Even though the city has mastered in state travel through buses and trams, its nice to slow down and just take in the scenery. The school is a 30 minute walk every day, and I enjoy just basking the fact that I am here. I have taken many small adventures searching for good and have discovered some beautiful places. Speaking of traveling, Europe has one of the best systems for getting around. Travel isn’t that expensive, so I plan to take many trips with my roommate and friend from the States. This weekend we are heading into the city, and will also travel by tram to Spain. Next week is Italy, and we plan to spend the weekend there. The part of the trip that excited me the most is being able to visit the surrounding areas.

Being here makes me realize how fortunate I am. Some people go a whole lifetime and never get to see a fraction of the things I see. I keep this in mind as i gallivant about the country side looking for the next exciting journey. Can’t wait to see what else this trip has in store for me!


Valencia Richard

A Delighted Traveler

P.S. Jetlag is not a myth as I originally assumed. It is real! My first night in Bordeux, I slept 20 hours straight, an could still go back for more!

Bonjour! from Bordeaux, France


View of the Village of Monterosso in Cinque Terre

What a journey it has been thus far…I’ve been traveling for about 2 weeks now and I can’t believe the things I’ve seen and done so far. From hiking up mountains to wine tasting in the heart of wine country, it has been an unbelievable experience so far. Before the 3-week program even began in Bordeaux at the KEDGE Business School I traveled to Munich, Germany and Florence, Cinque Terre, and Rome in Italy. I highly recommend planning a trip to Cinque Terre! One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. If you’re looking for a place to stay for cheap, check out Ospitalia de Mare. Located in Levanto, which is not one of the main villages which means hardly any tourists!

Bare with me as I go over some great experiences and things I’ve learned in the 2 short weeks I’ve been in Europe. First, pack light if you plan on traveling before or after your program! You have to carry, pull, and lug all that baggage around so keep that in mind. Bring comfortable shoes as well, I know you may be told that a lot but it’s very true. You do a lot of walking! Another thing I highly suggest is try out the local food wherever you may be. Don’t do Subway, McDonalds etc. all the time because you can get that back in the states. Venture out and try something out of your comfort zone. Also, go to the market and get groceries – it saves a lot of money.

A few key places to visit: If in Rome on a Wednesday, I highly suggest catching the Pope around 10 AM for his weekly address. Coming from a Catholic, it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve encountered. Another great place to go to if in Bordeaux is Arcachon. Home of the largest Sand Dune in Europe…more like a mountain of sand looking out over the Atlantic ocean. I will leave you with these two places to map out…stay tuned for more!


The Pope during his weekly address to the people (Vatican City)

I still have about 3 weeks left with plans to visit Paris, Barcelona, and London. I’m looking forward to meeting my sister and aunt in London! I look forward to posting more about my journey!



Clay Jernigan



¿Qué xopá? What’s up?

Ay dios mio, where do I start? The trip is already over halfway over and I can’t believe I have so little time left. I want to stay in Panama so badly; even a few of my classmates have decided to stay a few days after already. It’s just so interesting! The culture is so different. I remember us talking about the culture shock in the Study Abroad Orientation and I realize myself going through the steps described. I am still constantly fascinated by the culture, and it shocks me every time I realize a new part of their etiquette different from ours. I only just started delving into the “frustration phase” (I need more time!). I’m embracing it, though. If I’m working through my frustration, that means I’m learning, right?

I bet the Panamanians are just as frustrated with me since I have to ask them to repeat themselves so many times. My language skills have grown so much. I can now haggle with taxi drivers, street venders, and even certain tourist shop owners. I can recite the conversation about why our group of gringos is in Panama for studying from memory. I can even tell a few hilarious puns in Spanish (the greatest step towards fluency in my book).

On top of Cerro Ancon the entire skyline of Panama City can be seen.

On top of Cerro Ancon the entire skyline of Panama City can be seen.

This picture is from the top of Cerro Ancon, the only hill/mountain within city limits (took this picture during the hike I mentioned in my previous post). On top of the mountain is a Panamanian flag the size of a basketball court. You can see it from any point in the city, and it acts as a constant reminder of how proud the natives are of their country.

We’ve done so many other excursions outside of the city as well. My favorite being a trip to El Valle, a quaint city located in the crevice of a dormant volcano. There we did zip-lining and swimming in a natural pool at the base of a waterfall. Tan hermosa! And this Sunday we have a plan to go to San Blas, and series of islands in the territory of the indigenous Guna people. They are Carribean islands and apparently the water surrounding them is like glass. I hope they have snorkeling gear to rent!

–Jessi Dietrich


WOW! What a journey this has been so far. I never thought I would get to do so much!

All the sights and different cities I have seen would be nothing without the incredible people I have traveled with and met along the way.  KEDGE Business School here in Bordeaux, France is a wonderful place.  The student associations here are designed to make international students as involved as possible.  By being involved with Melting Potes (a student association that welcomes international students and organizes activities in the community) and WAXit (an association dedicated to extreme sports)  I have had the opportunity to meet, eat, party, and shred up the Pyrenees mountains with some of the most amazing and diverse group of people I have ever met.  I have made great friends with people from all around the world.

I’ve tasted some of the world’s finest wines in Chateau’s around France.  I’ve been to the top of the Eifel Tower and toured the Coliseum in Rome.  Ridden a bike around Vondel Park in Amsterdam, climbed Dune de Pilat on the Atlantic Coast of France, surfed in the oceans of Morocco, eaten tapas on the beaches in Barcelona and enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere in the legendary Casino Monte Carlo.  I’ve enjoyed exciting trips with some of the best people I have ever met.  The friends I have made have truly made this experience unforgettable.

Being fully immersed in the French culture has inspired me to learn as much as I can about life here.  While the language barrier has been difficult at times, I am learning.  I now feel comfortable in a restaurant and feel like I can make at least some (a little) contribution in a French conversation, I have my Quebecois roommates to thank for that.

With that being said, time really does fly.  I remember the day I got to Bordeaux like it was yesterday and now people are beginning to leave to go home.  As for me, funds are running low and the meals are getting cheaper and while traveling too far out of Bordeaux is probably out of the question for the remainder of my time here, it is not a bad place to be stranded.  Between the pickup football (soccer) games on the quai and picnics in Jardin Public, I think I can manage.

A la prochaine!



First Post From Panama!


I arrived in Panama City two days ago, but it already feels like I’ve been here for weeks. My group quickly got a feel for the area surrounding our hotel and campus, so we will be confident in taking risks to explore new areas. A few of us have already planned out snorkeling, zip-lining, and many many shopping trips for the three free weekends we have down here. I can already tell it isn’t enough time!

So far, the most blatant cultural difference is the driving etiquette. Cabs are constantly trying to go as fast as possible in order to make the most money in a night. Horns are heard every few seconds as a form of communication between drivers. It is really interesting actually, how they use horns to alert others when they are passing, when they are turning, and when they are warning people trying to cross the street.

The class set-up is also really nice. My Spanish 321 professor is also an acting chaperon on this trip, so I can have conversations with him in Spanish while walking around the city. His presence also pressures me in trying my hardest to not speak English with the locals or my fellow classmates as well. It is a great set-up and I know it’ll help me tremendously in learning more about the language and culture than I would have if he wasn’t there.

Welp, I just realized we are leaving to hike a mountain in fifteen, and I have to go lace up my boots (it’s the rainy season). Hasta pronto!