It’s almost been a week since I arrived in Beauvais, and I have met so many new people already that I lost track of the number of people I have been introduced to.
Sometimes it’s difficult to talk with people as some French people don’t speak English at all (yes, it’s true!), but luckily everyone is very friendly and on the bright side, this is an excellent opportunity to rack up my French language skills. That is, if you’re not speaking to one of the French students who are preparing for their English exam – those will reply in English as soon as they discover you’re an international. This exam is very important here and internationals students offer the ideal opportunity to practice with English conversation!
I’ve been assigned a room on campus, in the ‘Residence du Bois’, where most of the international students live. The name is very suitable for this building, as the forest is indeed very close to my room! I also have a French buddy student, who gave me a tour around the campus, which is very small compared to Wageningen! She has also helped me to arrange some things and fill out some documents, which is very helpful as my French can still use some improvement. She also took me and Monique (the other Dutch student here) to Beauvais so we could get some groceries and do some sightseeing. One of the things we saw was ‘La cathédrale Saint-Pierre’, the famous cathedral of Beauvais. It is the highest cathedral in the world and it was surely impressive to see!
Unfortunately Beauvais is not really close to the university, but it is possible to run from the campus to the centre of Beauvais in about half an hour so it’s not really far either. And as I do not have a bicycle here, I will have to get used to walking everywhere I want to go.
Currently I’m taking some classes on the French culture, which is quite interesting as France has a rich culture and there is a lot of ‘chauvinism’: the French are very proud of their language and culture. French gastronomy is tomorrow’s subject, so I’m very curious what we’ll learn.