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Insider Tips

Culture Shock

flagFrance

Expect a lesson in pronunciation

Don't be offended when everyone you encounter wants to give you an impromptu French pronunciation lesson. People in Lille would turn around in line at the grocery store to ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Must Do

flagFrance

Savor Sundays

The French Sunday ritual was my favorite part of studying in France. I awoke early to the sound of bells ringing at the ancient neighborhood church next door. After church ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Packing

flagFrance

Bring some books in English

There are many parts of France where English-language books are rare and expensive. Naively, I only packed two books with me when I flew to France, supposedly to make more ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Festivals & Events

flagFrance

Don't be alarmed to wake up in an art festival

I woke up early one of my first Sunday mornings in northern France to a woman banging loudly at the front door. Living with a host family, I cracked open ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Books

flagFrance

"Paris to the Moon" by Adam Gopnik

In the months before leaving to study in France, I read travelogues voraciously. Almost all of them terrified me, speaking of French rudeness, struggles with the language, and impossible bureaucracy ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Music

flagFrance

Techno, jazz, and everything in-between

Returning to my host family after a weekend traveling in Belgium, I found the door to the house swung wide open and boxes of old vinyl records flooding the lower ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Being an American

flagFrance

Prepare to be compared to O.C. characters

"Were you a prom queen?" was the first question my host sister asked me when I spent the semester studying in northern France. All I could do was laugh. I ... read more

03 Feb 2009
Etiquette

flagFrance

Don't expect to keep to yourself in a cafe

The iconic French cafe evokes certain images: tiny espressos, chain smoking, and rambling, but intelligent, conversations. Whereas we get an enormous coffee and plug in to our lab tops, the ... read more

03 Feb 2009
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