Overall, this was a once in a lifetime experience. We were able to study the culture and food by visiting cathedrals, museums, monuments, and cooking classes. For 2 weeks we traveled around Paris as well as the countryside, conversing with the locals and learning about their culture first hand. Along with the culture, we broadened our cooking skills with macaroon classes, chocolate making classes, and bread baking classes. We also had cheese and wine tastings and vineyard tours. I thought this study abroad experience was very enjoyable to learn about the two culture's similarities and differences first hand.
One of our activities was a tour of the food region of Montemarte. This tour was led by a food blogger Clotilde. During this tour we stopped at a vegetable stand, cheese shop, and a bakery. At each stop she really talked about the importance of each one and what it meant to her and the locals of Montemarte. She talked about the history of the baguette and how fresh produce is handled. She also talked about some sustainable issues in France that related to what we were studying.
Visiting the Sancerre village and the winery. Going outside of the city reminded me of home, all of the fields and trees. It was so beautiful to be away from the bustling of the city for a day. We were able to talk with the owner of a winery and learn about his sustainable practices which was really interesting.
What did you not expect?
I was surprised by the friendliness of the French culture. I had always heard the French as being rude but they were very welcoming any place we went. They also take pride in their food. I was also surprised by how long the meals were. For dinner we would eat a three hour long meal. Each meal is a time for people to come together as a family/friends and enjoy the food not rush through it like we do in the U.S.
What advice would you give?
My advice would be to try anything new. Going into this program I told myself I would have an open mindset to whatever was thrown at me, and that is what made it even more memorable. I was able to try food I would never even think of touching here in the States.
How has this experience impacted your life?
I was able to travel outside of the country for the first time through this study abroad experience. I loved everything about the culture of Paris. This trip was a great first experience for being out of the country. I was able to see both the city atmosphere and countryside. I was able to see another culture first hand and that is important in my eyes. Being able to connect with people from other countries or different cultures will help me in my future career.
How did you learn about this experience?
I learned about this opportunity through a past student who attended this program and through an informational session held by Dr. Rosentrater.International Connections