It feels kind of strange, but now, the serious business starts. While I already packed some things a week ago, I really started to pack everything I don’t need any more here into my luggage. Because I only have two days left here in Strasbourg. Anyway: You might have some questions in your head: What are you going to do now? What happens with the blog? And most importantly: Why are bananas yellow?
Ok, let’s start at the end: I really don’t know why bananas are yellow. Just ask god or Wikipedia or any other thing you pray to.
Secondly (sorry for the bad joke with the banana 😉 ): The blog. Of course, I am going to keep the blog! It was just too much fun writing the blog! While the content might change a bit, some things will stay the same (like the bad jokes ^^ ) but expect at least a subtle change.
And lastly: I am going to go home now (well, obviously 😉 ) but for now, I’ll stay there. There are just too many things to do there for now (internship, bachelor thesis just to name the two major things) that do not allow me to go elsewhere soon. But things will change definitely and I hope to be able to do an exchange to Quebec in Canada as soon as possible.
Ok, so now, that I responded to all the questions above, I can end the article, right? Well, not so much. The actual main purpose of this article is to do a small recap of what happened this year. I know, I know, this is going to be very dusty to read (I just finished writing the part below, so I know what I’m talking about 🙂 ) and I apologize already in advance if you fall asleep while reading the rest of the article, but it was so important for me, to recap what happened during this wonderful year in France.
So, let’s start at the very beginning, my arrival. It is a strange feeling to arrive in a student residence without knowing anyone. At that time, I still dreamt about the perfect residence where everybody was in that one big family. But more about that here. For the first some days, my parents stayed in a hotel right next to the residence and it felt more like a family holiday rather than a departure for a year.
My parents left and I started to get to know some people: Peter, Pelagia, Wilson, Matheus, … And then we had our first day at school *cough* university. A really interesting experience to have university level education in a school like environment. It was strange, too, because I knew nobody except for Peter. Soon, I learned all the other names too, but the opportunity, where I learned most of the names was the WEB, the “weekend en bus”. Essentially three days of partying.
After about a month, I started to realize that I really missed one thing from home: 6 weekly hours of sport. So, I had to look out for activities to do here. Obviously, I couldn’t replace the 6 hours, but at least two of them with Ai Ki Do. I have tried to go to Judo, too, but for a strange reason, they decided that 12 o’clock was a convenient time for students. I could hardly ever come to Judo because I always had some kind of class then.
But the main reason for my stay here was obviously not sport but rather the studies. And as I mentioned already above, I did not go to a “normal” university but to the “Institut National des Sciences Appliquées” which calls itself a “grande école”. That means in theory that they give a better education which is why diplomas from a “grande école” usually have a better reputation than those from conventional universities, but in practise, this means mostly that you have more school like procedures and everything is a bit more elitist. But don’t get me wrong, this is not bad, it’s just different.
If we zoom out a bit and look at the life here in general, things get more different. First, Strasbourg is way smaller than Munich. And you can feel that. Although Strasbourg is much more important in the international context than Munich, they only have tramways and busses (and that’s absolutely sufficient) while in Munich, we have two types of subway, tramways and millions of bus lines. And there is one more big difference: Strasbourg is dead after 11 pm. If you go out after 1 am, you will find hardly anyone on the street. All people are either at home sleeping or in a club or disco dancing, but that’s a different subject.
Now, let’s look at what you’re reading: English text. If you remember, I started this blog in German only. Although I can’t say that I have thousands of people visiting my site every day, more and more people started to be interested in the blog. Even my French class mates started to complain that the posts where only available in German. So, I decided to start an English version of the blog. The initial idea was to translate everything. All the pages, all the blogposts. But soon, I figured that this was not feasible so I decided to have two blogs in one: A German blog and an English blog, each with different content.
The very same day I translated the site, I returned home for vacation for the first time. And I must say: It is a strange feeling to come home as a visitor. With the upcoming visits at home, this feeling went away, but at first, it felt very strange.
What I took here from home was mostly decoration. A thing I didn’t like about my room was that it looked exactly the same as every other room in the building. So, I decorated my door. And looking back from today, although this decoration was quite simple and can easily be torn of in 5 minutes, it is going to be a sad moment for me to take it of tomorrow.
Shortly after that, I returned home again, this time for Christmas. Many students left completely as most of the students were here for only one semester which put my friendships with the other students to the test. What I realized was, that all of my real friends here were about to leave: Peter, Pelagia, Stephan, … Forced to be on a lookout for new friends, I discovered that this was actually great. Not only have I learned more French since almost only French students were left to become friends with but they showed me a whole different lot of things here in Strasbourg.
One example: Improvisation theatre. I would have never discovered that I liked it so much. Firstly, it made me learn French even more, especially the humoristic side of the language. But secondly, I really loved the fact that you could become someone else with the snap of a finger. Btw, I’ve already found a group to continue improv in Munich 🙂
Slowly coming towards, the end of the year (yes, we’ve almost made it 🙂 ), there was the big trip that the entire class worked for the past year: The “voyage technique”. The official purpose of this is to travel around while educating yourself. The unofficial purpose is to have one week of sponsored fun with your class mates and to do one or two educational visits to satisfy the requirements. Anyway, one week of Italy 🙂
And last but not least: The big project at the end of the year. Essentially, we went out almost every day by car to a small town one hour away from Strasbourg to do land registry. Again, something I wouldn’t have done if I had stayed in Munich.
And that’s it. That was my year here. I know, I rushed through it and I know it might have been a bit hard to read but I am glad you made it up until here 🙂 Oh and, if you are still reading this, just post the hashtag #WelcomeHome in the comments (on Twitter, Facebook or down below) 🙂
Aaaaaand before I leave: Again, many many thanks to all the people I met here, you are great! Thanks Peter, Pelagia, Steffen, Stephan, Verena, Valentin, Anne, Pierre, Wilson, Filipe, Stéphie, Sophie, Marco, Momo, Lu, Kyn Do, Eva, Marion, Paul, Camille, Calypso, Yannick, Tanguy, Ivan, Antoine, Maiwenn, Mathieu, Mathilde, Xavier, Lilian, Théo et Théo ;), Cécile, Michael, Spiros, Thibaut, Vincent, Célia, Matthieu, Nicolas, Mahmoud, Gilbert F., Jaques L. and everybody that I forgot to mention. You are great!