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Week 2: Rennes

During these past two weeks in this program I’ve fallen into a typical routine that I follow on a day-to-day basis. While each day here has been different from the rest, my schedule always has a standard structure that allows me to enjoy my time in Rennes as much as possible.

Each morning I wake up at about seven o’clock and start getting ready for class. In French culture it is important to be properly dressed before eating breakfast, so as such by the time I get downstairs to eat I’ve already fully organized myself for the rest of the day. Breakfast is rather light here, as I typically only eat a small pastry. Once I’ve finished eating my petit-dejéuner, it’s time to start getting to class. While some of the other students have to take the metro or a public bus as part of their daily schedule, my roommate Lauren and I are lucky enough to be about ten minutes walking distance from the university where our courses take place. 

Classes start at nine o’clock and end at twelve o’clock. Each week we have a different unit and a project due on Friday. For example, the unit for this past week was “creativity”, so my class spent the whole week learning about different aspects of French culture like French paintings, songs, and movies. Our project for the creativity unit was to make a magazine highlighting these pieces of culture.

When classes are dismissed at noon, the other students and I are given about an hour to an hour and a half to go out into the city and get lunch. This has become one of my favorite parts of my life here because it allows me to explore the various wonders of Rennes while also discovering new cuisine. One of my favorite meals to get for lunch is a popular dish of the Brittany region called a galette, which is essentially a savory crêpe.

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After lunch all members of the program meet the program-leaders at a set location for an “Into the Community” activity. These activities sometimes involve going out into the town and talking to the people of Rennes, using the French language to ask them various questions. Other times we will go to culturally significant locations and take tours as a learning experience. My favorite “Into the Community” so far has been our visit to the Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) as I loved seeing and critiquing the numerous French art pieces it exhibited.

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The other students and I are given free time after “Into the Community” activities have ended so we can spend time with friends and walk about the city. My friends and I will usually go to a park or visit a local café to enjoy each other’s company.

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In all honesty, the free time I’m given after the end of classes and such is something I’ll miss deeply when I go back to the United States. Not only is it fun to relax with friends and enjoy the beauty of the town surrounding us, I also truly believe that I’ve grown as an independent person thanks to these periods.

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When we return home, my roommate Lauren and I always have dinner with our host mom Isabelle. Isabelle has been nothing but kind, generous, and helpful to both Lauren and me and always teaches us new things about the French language. The three of us indulge in a different kind of dinner each day; so far I’ve had everything from pasta to ham to even chicken nuggets!

Evenings typically include watching the television and Lauren and me talking with our host mom about topics like French politics versus American politics, the French education system, and animal cruelty. I’ve truly gained so much knowledge through conversations like these as they’ve both taught me about some of the issues in society today while also allowing me to practice my French skills.

The last thing I do each day is go to my room and sleep, which is quite important considering the jammed-packed schedule my daily life in Rennes includes!

-Elena M.

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!

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