In my junior year of college, I spent 6 months living in Aix-en-Provence, France- a beautiful town in southern France. I had been learning French for about 8.5 years at this point and I was so ready to test my knowledge, meet actual French people and to experience all that France has to offer!
During this time, I lived with a French woman, Ginou, who didn't speak a word of French, was an incredible cook and was an honest, sweet woman. We got along so well and I will always have a special place for her in my heart.
This is a picture of the room I stayed in.
While I was there I studied at a French University- Sciences Po (Political Sciences), which meshed well with my degree in French and International Relations at the University of Wisconsin. I was basically a foreign exchange student there- so the classes were all in French, taught by French professors, etc. French University is quite different than another I expected. They don't really have a campus like we do in the states. Instead, they have one large building with many rooms and that's it. I signed up for 7 courses, each at 2 credits and I attended class for each course once a week for 2 hours per class. There was rarely homework and instead the classes were almost all based off of the final exam grade. It was incredibly different, but such a great experience!
The University I attended
I had made it so that all of my classes were Tuesday-Thursday and so that I had Mondays and Fridays off. Thus, I was able to take extended trips to all over Europe almost every weekend. In total, I made trips to Paris, Portugal, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Morocco, Italy, Croatia, and Poland (more on those in future blog posts). And honestly, I was one of the most exhilarating and freeing times of my life.
During the week and several other weekends (I mean, I couldn't travel EVERY weekend), I spent time in Aix and its surrounding cities. Aix is so beautiful and homey. There are so many cute boutiques, lots of cafes, fountains everywhere, cobblestone streets, views of Mont Sainte-Victoire (a mountain that Cezanne often painted), and so much, much more. They have daily outdoor markets- a flower market, a clothes market and a farmers market. It's such a cute town and I would recommend it to anyone!
6 months flew by far too quickly and before I knew it, I was on a plane returning home with 2 suitcases, many souvenirs, and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.