Thursday, January 26, 2017


Bonjour tout le monde!

      So here I am on my second week in Aix-en-Provence! The first week was great and included fun places and the excitement of the new city and country, however, as I creep into the first week of classes, reality steps in. Instead of looking at the city as tourists, we are beginning to see that we have a place in the town as well as students. We started of the week with an orientation to IAU and a field trip to the Luberon region in France. As I dig deeper into the discovery of the culture of France, there are specific differences that I am experiencing in France compared to the U.S- here are just a few:

·      Anytime you go into a store or enclosed space, say Bonjour (Madame, Monsieur)

·       Leaving the store or enclosed space, say au revior (Madame, Monsieur) or another salutation

·       Do not smile at random people on the street

·       Do not make eye contact (especially at late night clubs/bars)

If you do not say bonjour or au revior, it is basically not acknowledging that the people are human beings, causing the workers to not be very pleasant. These are just the main ones, but you are also dealing with an entire language difference as well. I really struggled with no smiling or making eye-contact, but I am learning quick. Especially in North Dakota, we smile at everyone to be polite, and trying to fit into these culture norms is tricky. These are just the basic situations that differ from America to France; there are many more. The differences between the two could go on forever.

 As for shopping, shopping for food (and clothes) differ from America. The shopping stores have two sales (soldes) each year instead of many sales throughout the year at the stores in town. While I am used to shopping for food at Hugo's or Target, the only place that shares a relation to those two is Monoprix. However, the places with the best food are just tiny bakeries and markets, which I am all for! 

Mostly are pictures from our trip to the Luberon region, which we traveled on Tuesday. So far I am having a great time! Aix is such a beautiful and historically place that I am growing to love. Although I still get stressed by little things (especially my poor French) I am reminded that it is a humbling experience, and to allow myself to except these challenges and use them to grow.  

À la semaine prochaine! 

 This was taken in a ville in the Luberon region
 A good looking dessert.
 The city of Gordes
 Ice in France????
 Le Colorado provençal
 More pictures of the colorado provençal

It may not look like it, but this was quite the hike.


Saturday, January 21, 2017


Bonjour tout le monde!

        What an exciting three days it has been!  Starting off my Wednesday morning at three-thirty, I woke up and headed for the airport. After flying from Bismarck to Dallas, Dallas to London, and London to Marseille; with a total of three cups of coffee and four hours of sleep, I made it to Aix! However, I was in quite a unique state of mind. First of all, obviously, I was tired. Yet, flying from London to Marseille, the entire flight felt like some sort of dream. All along, I’ve had my destination of Aix ready, and did the steps I needed. However, when arriving, a small panic kicks in questioning whether or not I was ready, and if it was real, which I can inform you, it is. The landscape is quite different from North Dakota, which in reality just means it lacked open prairie, or in other words, it was not flat. Going through the airport was so simple, and our lady from our program picked up us right away and we got onto a bus to Aix!
         Along our thirty-minute bus ride, all eight of us made quick introductions and were in amazement of the new reality we were about to face! Luckily I have been abroad before, but it also changed my initial experience. I can never get used to how strange and similar everything looks. I expected, as I did last time, that everything would look completely different. As if I would get out of the airport and say, “oh yeah, this is France.” However, I was quickly reminded that is not the case. The similarities of North Dakota are prevalent, however, the different language, architect, and transportation are the common difference from my experience, especially from my hometown and home college. However, at least this time I was prepared for subtle and exciting change I was faced with.


         The first thing I did when arriving in Aix, was just trying to take note of everything in my brain. Everything is so new, exciting, and breath-taking, immediately I just went to mentally remember everything and anything. However, I forget that I am going to be here for around four months (not four days), and that getting accustomed to this town and culture can and will take time. After getting of the bus station, two others students and myself were taken to our residence, which is best described as a hybrid between a dorm room and apartment. It is all student living, yet it is way more spacious and has more individual facilities that were not available in my freshman dorm. My roommate and I share many things, except for a room, each with plenty of space considering that we packed our entire life into two-three bags.

La ville

        For those of your who don’t know much about Aix, officially Aix-en-Provence, its population is around 150,000 people, and I would approximate that a third are students. It was founded in 122 BC by the Romans, with the organization of the town nearly split in two. Half of it is organized, as I can best describe, like spaghetti, because in older times, the cities were not organized as they as today. Whereas the other half has nice blocks that I am more familiarized with. It is organized well, and the furthest I will walk is fifteen minutes, making my apartment in a superb location. The first night upon arrival the IAU/CEA students met up for a hot drink at a café, followed by ordering a margarita pizza in another restaurant. The following day we had our orientation, accompanied by café au lait, au thé, ou  au café américain  (coffee with milk, tea, or black coffee) and a croissant. We were given a walking, historical overview of the town throughout the afternoon, and finished of our Friday with spaghetti and wine at other students’ apartments. 

À la semaine prochaine! 

 This is a view from my friend's terrace.

 Saint Jean de Malte

 A popular street in Aix

 Another view from someone apartment

 An advertisement for shoe oil that was kept on the building.

And of course, me eating a nutella crepe!