Finally in France

My first few weeks on exchange at NEOMA Business School in Rouen, France can be summed up by one word: busy. It has been so busy, in fact, that it was difficult to find time to write this blog post! My class this morning was canceled due to snow, however, which I took as a sign that I should be letting you all know how I am doing.

The start of my study abroad experience has been a success! My new home is a beautiful town outside of Paris, making it an ideal location for anyone to study. Being in Paris two weekends ago made me appreciate the more quiet and serene character of Rouen a bit more (not to mention how much less expensive food is here).

I am living on campus in the Ango housing dormitory managed by CROUS, the French system responsible for providing housing to university students. This particular housing option is unique in that it only houses international students on exchange at NEOMA, meaning that it was easy to make friends with people from around the world. In almost three weeks here, I have met people from Germany, India, China, Russia, Poland, and Finland, just to name a few.

I have my own room, but I share a bathroom and shower with another American from North Carolina State University. So far, we have been able to put aside our ACC football and basketball rivalry and get along very well. My room is…cozy…but I have been out and about so much that I tend to only be in here to sleep. To make it a little more homey, I began putting postcards on the wall for each city I have visited so far. It is a project I am very excited about!

Classes here are three hours long with a fifteen minute break in the middle – a much different environment than at Pitt. The professors spend less time lecturing and more time facilitating discussion and group work between students. This set up reminds me a lot of the way high school classes were run, a stark contrast to my college experience in the U.S. Course grades are heavily weighted on two things: class participation and either a final exam or final presentation. There isn’t much homework, but there is plenty of in-class work to keep us busy. The emphasis on group work has allowed me to meet lots of students from other countries, including those from France that study here full-time.

See you next time, when hopefully there is less snowfall and higher temperatures!