My first week in school at Rennes University has been more than I expected. The program is filled with students from over twenty-five different nationalities. I love that we all come from different backgrounds, experiences, and various ages. Since we may not all know English, I’m forced to communicate with them in French which is actually a pretty fun way to try and create bonds. While I’m typically in class from 9am to 5pm, I still try to see as much as possible after school is over. Even if I’m exhausted, I force myself to never say no and absorb as much as I can while I’m here.
So far my week has consisted of:
There was a music festival that took over the entire town! From techno to rock to classical to jazz to reggae, there were bands located at every corner. The energy was unbelievable! You could spend hours dancing, socializing, and eating fabulous street food.
Although we were exhausted, we began our first day of school. The university welcomed us with a champagne reception then later took us on a personalized walking tour of Rennes to understand the history of the city.
After class, I went window shopping then tried a really great Nepalese restaurant. Being that I personally love exotic foods, I was pleased to see that Rennes offers a wide amount of different restaurants. Since I missed eating curry, I had some excellent palak paneer and Nepalese momos.
The school took us on our first excursion and it was the best field trip I ever had! We first went to Dinar and then we spent the rest of the day in Saint Malo. While the water was crystal clear, it was unbelievably freezing. My friends and I still managed to dive into the water but I was shaking the entire time.
In Saint Malo there is a fort that sits in the English Channel and can be approached once the tide is down. After spending most of the day on the beach, we were able to check out the fort and walk the cliffs.
One highlight of my day consisted of me being mugged on the beach….by a seagull!! I was in the middle of eating a sandwich and all of the sudden, a seagull swept in and literally stole it out of my hand! I’m already a little frightened by birds and began screaming when a gang of seagulls surrounded me and devoured my entire sandwich within a matter of seconds. Sadly, I went hungry after that.
When we returned from our field trip, we discovered another kind of festival that was happening in Rennes….a shopping festival! It was the largest sale of the year and stores all over the city had vendors set up marking items 70% off. French women were on the hunt searching for the best deals on designer clothes and I felt extremely overwhelmed. The way the markets were set up led me to believe that I was back in Morocco negotiating for items in the middle of the souk.
After class I went to the park to study with friends then had dinner. I ate escargot which happens to be one of my favorite French hors d’oeuvres.
I joined the school at 11am to check out the Rennes open air market. Once again, Rennes went beyond my expectations. The market took over the entire city center. There were rows upon rows of vendors and several buildings we’re filled with music and every type of fresh food you could imagine. It was a foodies paradise!!! Since the market is open on Saturdays, I plan to visit every single time while I’m here.