Monday makes it a full week since I arrived in France, I can’t believe it. The first day was a bit rough, and by that I mean I was completely stressed out I made a mistake deciding to study abroad. But throughout the week I gained my bearings in this beautiful place and cannot imagine wanting to spend the semester anywhere else.
As I landed in Nice the afternoon of January 2nd the panic set in: I didn’t even know what my roommate, Josefine, looked like and I was supposed to meet her in the airport. I was looking for somebody “tall in a long black jacket”. My iPhone, typically my refuge when I’m lost or looking for somebody, was largely useless since I canceled my service for the time I’ll be abroad. Luckily I found her with very little trouble and we were off to catch a bus to Cannes where Josefine was told we could find a second bus to take us to Mougins. Our school, Skema Business School (where I’m taking engineering classes) is in a technology park called Sophia Antipolis.
Skema, however, recommends exchange students live in Antibes or Juan les Pines (on the French Riviera) as you can get to anything you need (food, laundry, bar, etc.) by foot or bus. They’re also both about a twenty minute bus ride from the school. Unfortunately the apartment we found wasn’t available to move into until January 7th, so after we landed in Nice we had to make our way to the little city called Mougins, where my dad was able to book us a room in a timeshare for the first few days.
After an hour of dirty looks for our luggage taking up too much space on the bus we arrived in Cannes, only to walk around for another hour without finding any of the buses locals insisted would take us to Cannes. Eventually we gave up and took a cab to our resort. For the twenty minute cab ride I couldn’t help but to again think I made a mistake coming here—if I couldn’t even find my resort how could I ever be capable enough to travel through Europe and live abroad? But over the past week Josefine and I have taken many trips by bus successfully, and a few times not so successfully. We take our “adventures” in stride though and find the joy in discovering new places with new friends.
Yesterday we moved into our apartment in Antibes, so it no longer takes us an hour and a half on two buses to get to Skema. Our first night in our “luxury apartment” (I thought that was just advertising hype but it really is quite nice) we cooked our first home-cooked meal abroad. As much as I enjoyed the pizza slices bought at la boulangerie (the bakery) it was nice to finally eat a real meal.
Today we both took advantage of the weekend and slept in before taking a “Self-Guided Walk” through Old Antibes. We used a Rick Steves guidebook as our tour guide and enjoyed the amazing weather– 14⁰ C (that’s about 57⁰F if you’re like me and not too great with the metric system). Here’s a picture of my roommate and I in Vieux Port (Old Port) with the Alps in the background:
Tomorrow night we’re having another exchange student over to cook dinner. At one dinner table we’ll have three students from three countries all here to start the experience of a lifetime, I can’t wait!
Until next time… Au revoir!