Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you are all staying warm! Here are some of the questions I’ve received and answered from all of you:
Do they celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Yes, of course! There are boulangerie’s everywhere you go! It would be like driving down the streets of Michigan and turning every gas station, pharmacy, and fast food restaurant into a bakery… THEY’RE EVERYWHERE! They all had many desserts and pastries especially for Valentine’s day. There are also many small markets around town and a lot of the vendors sell flowers, so they had their tents set up much of last week (they are usually only there once or twice a week). Mostly, there were many people holding hands and dressed up to go to dinner, and things like that as the day went on. They love to celebrate love! ❤
How much do Jordan’s cost?
I will admit, this question made me laugh, but it is a good question… There is a Foot Locker here that I pass by everyday, so I went in and found that Jordan’s cost anywhere from 100€-130€ (when converted comes to $135-$180). There are shoe stores everywhere here as well… and they are pretty pricey! You would be lucky to find a pair of any kind of shoe for under 80€. If you plan on coming to France, or Europe in general, definitely invest in a good pair of shoes because you will be walking A LOT!
Are the classes crowded?
It depends… I have been in classes with 80 other people, and I am currently in a class with 7 other people. When I registered for what classes I would take here, I met with an academic coordinator at UM-Flint who specializes in International Studies. He has looked at the classes offered here, at France Business School (FBS), and compared them with the curriculum of the classes at UM-Flint to see how they compared. From there, he was able to see which classes would transfer properly, and which course it would count towards. I was able to choose from a list of classes that were interesting to me, and counted towards my Marketing degree. Most general classes have between 30-40 students. These 30-40 students are both French and International, but all classes are taught in English. Because many of the French students aren’t extremely fluent in English, it is made very clear in each class during presentations and exams that you will not be graded on your English skills.
In addition, there are specific classes that everyone has to take. “Marketing Research Project” is one of them. Everyone in my ‘class’ (everyone who started in January) was able to choose between Marketing Research and Financial Research. There are about 40-50 in each of these classes but we will only meet 3 times in the 5 months we are here. Although we only meet 3 times, there is a lot of research and work done outside of class. There will be a presentation on our research during our last meeting. Although this won’t count towards a credit at UM-Flint, this is a mandatory class to earn my Certificate, and attend school here.
What is the tax rate?
There is no sales tax on items here. If the item on the shelf is 50€, your total is 50€! (Some US States also have 0% tax, I know Alaska is one of them. It’s a hard adjustment when you move back home and there’s a few dollars extra to pay!) There is a housing tax which differs depending on where you live, but because I will only be here for one semester, I am not obliged to pay this tax.
Tell us more about your language classes:
In addition to the classes I discussed above, there is also French class that every student is required to take while they are here. French class meets Monday’s and Wednesday’s from 5:30-7:00pm. During orientation, you must take a placement test to see which class you fall into. Classes are as follows: Beginner I, Beginner II, Intermediate, and Advanced. French class is every week with a few exceptions. There is a week off in March, two weeks off in April (before and after Easter), and we finish mid-May. It’s quite enjoyable, and I look forward to it every week. I have an amazing professor who is from France but speaks English quite well. The more you study at home, the better you will get (just like anything else), but the fact that I use it everyday helps a lot! Because it is a college based class, and they want us to learn as much as we can in the time we are here, so the information is taught quite quickly. We learn some vocabulary, and pronounce them once or twice and move on to the next thing. We don’t spend a great deal of time concentrating on one specific thing because we have such a short time here. You are expected to study on your own.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I haven’t ever taken a French class, or tried to learn the language until I came here. I’ve taken 6 years of Spanish and can hold a conversation pretty well, so Spain would’ve been ideal, but UM-Flint does not have an exchange program there for my field. I think one of the greatest things about this experience is the people you meet. Although we are in France, and we are all learning French, we are also getting a cultural lesson through our international friends here. Tonight, for example, I went to dinner at a friend’s house and had Columbian style meatballs. They cook them with tomatoes, onions, and spices, and then add tomato sauce and chopped up hot dogs! It’s really delicious! There are a handful of Columbian students here so I have gotten a lot of opportunities to practice my Spanish as well! It was pretty funny when they asked each other a question in Spanish and I answered… they were shocked I understood them and even more shocked that I replied in Spanish! It’s been a lot of fun practicing my Spanish as well as French!
I am looking very forward to hearing more of your questions! I hope this gives you a better idea of what life is like in France! I will be publishing posts on my main page weekly about different things happening to me, traveling updates, differences in lifestyle, etc. so be sure to check that out as well!