Sunday, November 20, 2016

>> Bom día, Strasbourg <<

exchanging is Strasbourg is best case scenario...

Strasbourg at night is absolutely stunning; oftentimes when I run at night it looks just like this.

Let's talk about Stras, baby

  1. big enough to be exciting, but small enough to feel like home in no time
  2. safe -- like BG safe --
  3. student life is a thing 
  4. centrally located in Europe
  5. just look at it

(this is also the background photo for my blog, but I just can't get over how pretty the bridges are)

I wasn't finished:

6. La Marne exists & it's not expensive (1o/1o would recommend my housing) 7. Alsatian wine is great 8. if you put yourself out there, your international family will be forever precious to you
9. you can join teams and organizations

After our first W... Fear the Storks

Speaking of teams:

More or less accidentally, I became the soccer team's goalkeeper... 

This is new and exciting, and I need to learn some French like yesterday to communicate with my defense. I haven't played soccer in forever, so I'm still laughing as I lace up my cleats and put on the gloves the team had for me. In my junior high prime I was on a competitive team, and soccer six days a week paid off for a number of my teammates who continued to play in high school and college for competitive programs... I stopped playing then because I was burnt out, and my knees weren't cooperating with my athletic goals. I feel silly for picking it back up now because my mobility is a joke compared to when I was thirteen, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. The girls on the team immediately embraced me and my other international friends who joined, and even though we struggle to communicate, I really feel that comfort of working for a team.

Last note on why Stras is great, then I'll stop I promise:

The Bachelor of European Management (BEM) program EM Strasbourg offers is killer.

10.) I'm graduating with 2 degrees (acquired in 4 years) 11.) French skill recommended, but not at all required (I studied Spanish, whoops) 12.) it's designed to accommodate travel 13.) we have cool opportunities here like our Role Play European Parliament... I'll explain this later.

As many of you know, 

I keep up this blog for the College of Business as well as for my personal network. I saw this awesome video, and I think friends and College of Business subscribers alike may enjoy hearing about one of my colleagues' perspectives on her time in Strasbourg so far. (Thanks for letting me include this, Caroline!)

You can watch the video she made here:

Or by copy/pasting this link:

(apologies because Blogger doesn't like hyperlinks at all)
As you'll see, Caroline has also had the opportunity to fit in many exciting trips, and she is also enjoying Strasbourg immensely. There are five students from BGSU here for the whole year, and I have at least one class with three of the others. It's nice to have a few other BGSU students to remind me of home-y things here and there (like BG's crazy weather this November, Ay Ziggy!), but I also think we've all done a really good job not clinging to each other. We have all really branched out of our comfort zones to make new friends while we're here, and I think that's something we all recognize as extremely valuable! (Also, to anyone considering Strasbourg for their study abroad, Caroline's room in the back of her video is a traditional university housing option called Robertsau.)

Life updates in a nutshell:

I love it here. This year I'm learning and growing so much, especially outside of the classroom. Personally, I think this experience is the most valuable opportunity I have ever seized, and I would recommend a year long study abroad program to almost anyone. 

My international friends and I try to pretend it's not real, but the end of the semester is right around the corner. In less than a month, I'll be saying goodbye to around half of my new family. I really could cry every day between now and then if I let myself think too much... We all came here with opens minds and open hearts, and that's been such a gift. Ugh, love and hate this part of exchange. 

This part of the semester also marks about one-third of my time living in Europe. In less than three months, I've really come to feel like Strasbourg will always hold a special place in my heart as my home away from Bowling Green and Springboro. So far I've experienced 9 countries in Europe, and I have definite plans to visit many more. Realistically, I'll also prioritize travel within France, as I've made mostly international trips so far. 

I'm still not missing anything about America too much. At least not enough to detract from the wonderful experience I'm embracing here. Most of my friends here have either visited friends from home, or had friends and family come to visit here. Over the holidays, I have my best friends visiting for a week, and I think if I weren't looking forward to that I might be somewhat sad about being so far from home. I'm happy enjoying my independence, but relationships with family and friends are a huge priority to me; it doesn't feel right to be too far from everyone I care about for so long. Also, next semester I have a number of dear friends studying abroad in Europe, so I'm looking forward to the weekend trips to see each other. It's clutch to have other friends on exchange simultaneously because, as you're both "poor college students", it's perfectly acceptable to consider a floor a very generous offer for accommodation, which makes for a very inexpensive weekend trip to wherever!

On that note, I owe another Portuguese friend, Pedro, a huge thank you for hosting FIVE of us at his apartment outside Paris! When Francisca told me that you offered your place for all of us, I kind of thought she was joking, but it was perfect. I spent more on crêpes than I did on accommodation for a Wednesday - Monday trip to Paris. Score.

Blog posts about that ^ trip to Paris last week, and yesterday's trip to Zürich, Switzerland coming soon! Or relatively soon.           **Blog posts about Paris and Zürich coming at some point.**

Love, Jules

"Wander with wonder and the whole world becomes home" - Tyler Knott Gregson

P.S. I'm primarily only 'Jules' to my friends here, now. Weird that the most common nickname for Julie took over twenty years to become a thing in my life, but Europe is weird so it's whatever.

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