Robert Rixman: Bordeaux, France

My name is Robert Rixman and I am studying at Bordeaux Ecole de Management in Bordeaux, France. I have been here two weeks and can already tell this is going to be an amazing experience. I’m learning a lot about French culture, but even more about other cultures from the other international students.

Living in Bordeaux
I live in a flat on rue Bouffard in the city centre (I quickly realized nobody understood what downtown meant. “Downtown to what?”) I have a roommate from Seattle. Also living in our building is a guy from Copenhagen, Denmark named Nikolas, his catchphrase: “Who cares, we’re in Bordeaux!” and a very Turkish guy from Istanbul, named Cem (pronounced Jim or gem…)

We were really lucky to get a place downtown compared to by the school (in Talence). All the activities so far have taken place in Bordeaux and the city is beautiful. Don’t tell the landlord, but one night a few of us took a bottle of wine to the roof and gazed at the city. It was literally breathtaking.


Orientation Day
Orientation was at the beach. We had canoe races, sand football (soccer), sand volleyball and more. Met a ton of cool people from all over the world. It’s really interesting to hear what they think about Americans; like we love having barbeques, enjoying a responsible amount of alcohol, and then going to church. I have learned so much about them as well, even a lot about the English and Canadians (“eh?”).


Just about everyone would say, “Oh Kentucky Fried Chicken?!” when I told them where I was from. Nobody has heard of Louisville and cannot understand what I say when I don’t pronounce it “Loo-E-ville.”

The night after orientation, a group of us went to dinner on the Rue Saint Remi, a famous street that leads to the river in Bordeaux. In official French Tradition, we had a two and half hour meal; three course, sangria, and a bottle of Bordeaux Wine. That’s how every meal is. I would get frustrated at how long everything takes, but it’s not like I really have anything better to do. So we sit and enjoy the weather, the city, and talk about the differences in our cultures.

Tour of the city
The Melting Potes, a student organization that is in charge of international student activities, set up a tour of Bordeaux. We got to see the touristy sights and learn some interesting facts. Also at famous landmarks we would play games. We “mimed” in the park and posed for a funny picture in the Place de la Bourse. And at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux we all sang our own National Anthem. It turns out I can’t sing. We also had about 8 Germans in our group who proudly belted out their anthem. An Englishmen leaned over to me and said “The last time Germans were singing that song in this square, it was 1944!” wow…

Other Activities
The Melting Potes have been putting together activities all week. We had a poker game. I was able to knock out all of the international students, but was finally knocked out by one of the Melting Potes despite flopping a full house. But it’s not like I’m still mad about that or anything… A KING ON THE RIVER?! COME ON!


Anyway, the next night was redemption at “Laser Game” or “Laser Tag” as we would call it. Quick side note: there was a pool table in the Game Room and apparently in Europe they play on a tiny pool table with small pool balls and no numbers. That’s why I lost… The Laser Game was another story. My American roommate and I had the highest scores out of any of the 100+ international students. I was feeling really good about it too until an Austrian girl said “The reason you are so good at Laser Game is because you have nothing better to do in Kentucky,” and walked away.


Our flat mate, Cem, came up to us after his match and said happily in a thick Turkish accent, “I cover up sensor, and was dead-less.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or be terrified.

I just started my Human Resources in a Globalized Environment class. It turns out its even more boring than the name… but “Who cares, we’re in Bordeaux!” st-remi.JPG

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