Photos from Week 8

I have the feeling that we’re not in France anymore…

München

This train stops at Pasing and Otsbanhof, but not Central Station??

this picture was taken SECONDS after a 100 yard dash from the entrance

Meggie( a HUGE fan of my blog) finally makes an appearance

Wait, this isn’t La Guinguette?

Bros and Beers

Ava being cool, what else is new

“Jason if you don’t stand on this bench to take a picture with me right now I SWEAR TO GOD”

oh how I missed all these AMERICANS

 

Photos from Week 7

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

Cool buildings on the Rhine river

Finally met up with Élise (my old French FLA) in Strasbourg, something we have been planning since our 301 Practicum

Petite France

Strasbourg is nice… I guess

Finally seeing French squad (sans Drew and Stasie) after a long month apart

France: un amie ou un ennimie?

Bonjour à tous! It has now been two weeks since my arrival in Dijon. These 14 days have honestly felt like an eternity, each day a totally different adventure of its own. I’ve done everything from one-person museum tours to getting x-rayed for Tuberculosis, and I can’t wait to tell you all about my new life here in ma nouvelle ville ( my new city). Donc, allons-y! (so, lets go!)

For starters, I really do love Dijon. From what I have experienced, Dijon is the perfect mix between ville (city) and village (town). The city is filled with tiny cobblestone streets and old fashioned French houses, but yet still has its fair share of large bâtiments (buildings)Carrefours (a grocery store chain), and tram lines. When I first arrived, I was astonished by how unfamiliar the city was, but yet so warm and inviting. This might be due to the fact that many buildings in the city are centuries old and have a cozy, lived-in look to them. The city is quintessential France, and I am astonished how quickly it has charmed me.

I also have really lucked out with my new host family. When I first stepped out of the train station two weeks ago, I was worried that I would not be able to find/recognize my host mom. Luckily, seconds after resting my luggage, I clearly spotted a woman sprinting towards me, with a giant smile on her face, flailing her arms to get me to notice her. When I finally met Jocelyne, my new host mom, we “faire la bise”(the super european kiss on both cheeks) and she gave me my first tour of the city. After our tour, Jocelyne brought me to her house were I met her son, and my new host brother, Martin. Ma nouvelle maison (my new house) is perfectly located in Dijon, right in between the city center and my university’s campus, so I’m hoping there wont be any public transit mishaps in Dijon*.

So, I have absolutely no complaints about neither my city nor my host family. What I CAN complain about, however,  is the awful reality that I have discovered of the infamous French bureaucratic system. I had heard complaints of French bureaucracy while researching French study abroad stories in the past, but had no idea how much I would despise it as well. To put it shortly, it has taken me roughly two WEEKS to sign up for classes at l’Université de Bourgogne. First I had to have an x-ray to check that I did not have Tuberculosis before I was even able register for the university. Then, I had to search all over campus for each of the school’s department and their respective paper handout of offered classes. After choosing my classes, I had to fill out paperwork to enroll in the classes and the hand it in to each department’s respective secretary. This process took me more than a week to complete, taking into account that all the department offices are not open at the same time because that would be too easy, and the fact that the French like to take two hour lunch breaks in the middle of the day. Needless to say, this painstakingly long process has made me appreciate the easiness of Holy Cross’s enrollment system, even though HC’s system has its flaws as well.

I am happy with my decision of choosing Dijon and I am excited to see what my alone time abroad has in store for me.

À bientôt!

-Sean

Leçon du jour: “La bureaucratie est l’art de rendre le possible impossible.”(Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.) – Javier Pascual Salcedo

Photos from Week 6

My first french manifestation (march for environmental laws)

La Cathédrale Saint-Bénigne

Place de la Republique

One of Dijon’s many mustard shops

“Dijon… yes, like the mustard”

Seconds before the mustard burnt my nose

trip to Ornans

Another picture from Ornans

Me after a long day of speaking French

Photos from Week 5

My first picture in Dijon

le marché ( the market)

du formage (some cheese)

awkward pictures because I was alone on the tour

A city street

Typical old French street

l’Église Saint-Michel (St. Michael’s Church)

A meme that I could not stop laughing at one night, yeah I’ve already spent too much time alone

Adieu à Tours

Salut à tous! (Hello everyone!) I am happy to announce that I finally made it to Dijon! As I lie in my new bed, in my new house, in my new city, I can’t help but reflect on all that has happened this past month. To put it frankly, I LOVED my time in Tours. It wasn’t one thing about the city in particular that I really liked, but rather an assortment of factors that lead to me genuinely enjoying my stay in the city.

Premièrement (firstly), Tours really helped me to improve my French. I would not directly credit my improvement in the language to the 84 hours of class that I had to sit through at the Institute this month, but rather to the many situations that I encountered where I was pushed out of my comfort zone to use French while in Tours. Whether it was when I had to frantically ask the bus driver why my bus was stopping for 20 minutes at a random station -it was to wait for the train commuters-, or when I had to explain to a banker that I couldn’t make an account because I did not have any legal documents of a permanent address yet, Tours forced me to speak French and that is how I successfully “broke the language barrier.” During the past month, I went from waking up and accidentally saying “good morning” to my host parents, to being able to hold up an hour long conversation about immigration with them at dinner. There is definitely not one particular event that I could pin down as being “that moment” when I knew I had really become able to the country and the language in Tours, rather it was a gradual process that I am finally realizing as I look back at the previous month.

Deuxièmement (secondly), Tours was a great way to ease my way into the study abroad experience. As I have previously discussed, this is my first time ever being outside of the U.S., so you can probably guess that I had a considerable amount of culture shock when I first arrived in France. Even the small things, like having to pay for food with valuable Euro coins or surviving solely on public Wifi for my phone to work without a sim card, were totally strange first experiences for me. I am also glad that Tours enabled me to get the awkward first time of living in someone else’s home out of the way with the rest of the Holy Cross kids, who were having the same firsts as I was.  In the moment, when you are getting yelled at IN FRENCH for not telling your host mom soon enough that you wouldn’t be coming home for Sunday lunch after mass, you think that it would ruin your entire study abroad experience day.  However, after joking about it with your friends and hearing similar stories from them, the experiences are a lot less traumatizing.

Troisièmement (thirdly), Tours allowed me to form such tight bonds with other Holy Cross kids that I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. By being part of a small 12 student group from Holy Cross in a foreign country for a month, I was really able to spend time and connect with each and every person on the trip individually. I am so happy to have come to know all of them better and will never forget all the memories we shared (partially because I photographed EVERYTHING). Whether it was laughing about Vines on the tiny beach of La Rochelle or just sitting and talking about homesickness near the Loire during one of our frequent trips to La Guinguette, Tours enabled me to gain 11 close friends that I wouldn’t have been able to get to know so intimately otherwise, and I’m beyond grateful for that.

I am definitely going to miss Tours, not just the city, but the people in it as well (shout out to Zélie, Gabe, and Marcos). It was difficult to leave everyone for Dijon, but I am excited to see what this new city has in store for me. I trust that the HC kids in Strasbourg will keep me in the loop of the day to day and I CAN’T WAIT to go visit them in a couple of weeks.

C’est tout pour l’instant! (That’s all for now!)

À bientôt!

-Sean

Leçon du jour: Marcher avec un ami dans le noir est mieux que de marcher seul dans la lumière. (Walking with a friend in darkness is better than walking alone in the light)

 

Photos from Week 4

L’Institut de Touraine

I love a good veggie burger

Gwen and Drew talking about their favorite topic, themselves

Isabel finally trying on a red coat that she had been eyeing

Liv and Ava looking excited to eat their crêpes

Adiós Marcos (feat. my signature pain au chocolat)

À la Guinguette?

“HHZZZUHHH!!!”

*insert inside joke here*

Going to miss all these people,  have fun in Strasbourg guys!!!

Photos from Week 3

Château de Chaumont

One of the art exhibits at Chaumont

Woodworks by Patrick Dougherty- the same guy who designed the Woodworks at Holy Cross!!

we stayed an extra ten minutes for another misting

Titanic(1997)

So Far from the Bamboo Grove

the chapel in Chaumont

Hi, welcome to Chili’s

We adore Boba Tea

Ava looking cool, as always

Le mode de vie français

As my stay in Tours continues, I slowly see myself becoming more and more accustomed to le mode de vie français (French way of life). Although my host family situation definitely took some time getting used to, my host parents have really helped my language progression as well as my acclimation to French life. It’s the little things that make all the difference between living in France and the US. Between the rigid set of dinner courses instead of eating family style, saying bonjour before any first interactions throughout the day, and the overall laid-back manner of living, France has surely taken some time getting used to. I’ve gone from my typical mornings in America of scarfing down an entire bagel during the slightest lull in between errands, to leisurely sipping on a single cup of coffee for hours while talking to my friends at an outdoor French café. At first, I thought that the slowed down way life that the French are famous for would irritate my restless nature, but I have to admit that it has started to grow on me. Le mode de vie français is dangerously infectious, I’ve even started having cravings for French cheese if I do not eat it for “dessert” at least once a day. WHO EATS CHEESE FOR DESSERT?!? WHO AM I BECOMING?!?  

Anyway, this week my fellow HC students and I have really bonded after some crazy adventures together. On Tuesday, we had a French cooking class where we made beignets. On Wednesday, we went to the nearby city of Chinon, where we were able to walk in the footsteps of Joan of Arc, as well as do some wine tasting at a local vineyard. Then on Saturday, one of the HC students planned an entire day trip to the famous Château Chenonceau for the group because the one at the Institute was canceled(Thanks again Abby!!). This was definitely the highlight of my week. For the past seven years that I have been studying French, I have seen countless pictures of Chenonceau and other châteaux from the Loire Valley in my textbooks. Seeing the Château and its grounds was the perfect French trip for me. I am so glad that Holy Cross have this month long immersion program in Tours, partially because of the great location for châteaux visiting, but mostly because I am having such a great time with the rest of the Holy Cross kids who I will soon be leaving for Dijon while they go to Strasbourg. I am really going to savor these last two weeks coming up because I know that they will be my last weeks of complete comfort for a while.

À bientôt!

-Sean

Leçon du jour: Prenez le temps de vivre (“take time to live”)

Photos from Week 2

Cooking class!

Pique-nique-ing

The group walking the streets of Chinon

We miss our HC hill pictures

Wine tasting

In the Vineyard (NOT Martha’s)

After school trip to the museum (the sign says “we are happy”)

Me on my way to find a good Instagram location

The group at Château Chenonceau

Almost fell into the Cher river