Culture / French / History

The year abroad begins…

My eagerly anticipated year abroad has finally begun. Last week I took the eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, and then changed to Gare de l’Est to catch my train to Strasbourg. As I boarded my 10h25 train to France, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure what I expected the day I left for France but there was something so blasee about it, as if I had done it every day for my whole life.

First impressions of France? Well, in the 2 hours I had to wait between trains, a total of 10 people came and asked me if I had a cigarette to spare. I couldn’t help but wonder if the French would live up to any other stereotypes. Where were the berets, stripes and baguettes?

I’m not sure what compelled me to choose Strasbourg for my year abroad. A variety of reasons I suppose, home to the European Institutions being one, and Strasbourg’s proximity to Germany and the rest of Europe would be another. Only a 15 minute bus ride into Germany and an hour train to Switzerland, it is situated perfectly for language students and europhiles alike. Strasbourg’s multiculturality hit me straight away. In the first 24 hours I had met a Quebecoise, a German and an Australian, and we all went to lunch together.

Strasbourg is a delightful mix of both French and German culture, with architecture, food and people from both countries permeating the town. I hope to see every inch of the town, try every delicacy and meet as many people as possible during my time here. For now, I leave you with some pictures of my beloved Strasbourg, and will leave my thoughts on the town optimistic and open to further revision.


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