My alarm went off at 7:30AM and I wanted to snooze it more than anything else—so I did! But, I decided to get back up around 7:40AM because I didn’t come all the way to France to sleep. After completing my morning routine, I proceeded to eat three French biscuits with a cup of milk. As I walked out of my apartment and locked the door, it reminded me that I am living a complete different lifestyle than normal: I wake up in an apartment alone [on most days], eat breakfast by myself, and am responsible for ensuring everything is back in place before I leave. As a boarding student, I have keys to my dorm, but I am used to seeing other people the second I open the door to exit my room and eat breakfast with a large group of people in the dining hall. While I occasionally miss being surrounded by such an environment, this is a very refreshing and pleasant change that allows me to take on greater responsibility.
After meeting up with a friend behind the opera house in La Place De La Comédie, we walked to school and passed by familiar faces, lots of croissant shops, and trains running through the streets. We usually get to school 10 minutes early, which is great because it gives the entire student group to get together in the morning; it is like meeting up with your friends in the foyer 10 minutes before A-Block. Speaking of A-block, our school day is basically a regular Tuesday schedule mixed in with a delayed-opening Tuesday schedule: 1st block for 90 minutes (long block), 10-minute break (similar to 10-minute advisory), another 90-minute long block, and lunch, which is packed by our host families.
In my opinion, classes at CSW and ILP (Institut Linguistique du Peyrou) are completely different. While classes at the ILP are also discussion based [at times], there is a different essence in the learning. For instance, there are barriers for discussion. At CSW, we are provided with an open classroom to freely share our ideas, regardless of differentiating opinions, while the French classroom at the ILP seems to revolve around societal and cultural norms of France. While this makes sense as we are here to continue learning French/exploring the French culture, it limits our ability to connect one thing to another and form a greater picture of what is being discussed.
Once we finish our school day at the ILP, we either are given free-time to explore the city, offered to join Diana, Awa, and Charlotte at a cafe, or go on an excursion. This afternoon, we were given free-time, but we were expected to complete “une enquête” in which we partnered up and went around the city asking residents of Montpellier different questions in regards to various topics. For example, one group asked questions about the Paris attacks of November 2015, while my partner and I asked questions in regards to American and Indian stereotypes/knowledge of the culture citizens of Montpellier may have.
After this activity, a large group of us rested in a park for several hours as we finished our homework, listened to music, ate food, laid on the grass, and looked up at the beautiful grass in the 59 degree (Fahrenheit) weather. To end the day, I sat at the Place Royale du Peyrou as I continued to look up at the beautiful sky and monuments, including Montpellier’s Arc de Triomphe. I hope you enjoy the attached picture which captures lots of different emotions present at the Place Royale du Peyrou!