France: Food & Drink, Classroom Experiences (Alissa De Valk)

Food & Drink

I’m getting more and more used to the food here, but what I didn’t expect was how different the drinks would be, as well. For example, I haven’t had any milk since the morning I left my house for the airport. This is very unusual for me, as I normally have a glass almost every day, not counting the milk I use for cereal. At dinner, my family only puts water and wine out on the table. Every so often, my host father asks if the other student and I want a coffee. The first time, I found it a little unusual to be having a coffee after supper (we usually get done around 8:30 or 9:00), but I thought, why not? I was very surprised when I saw the size of the cups he brought us. I could easily have fit two of them on the palm of my hand. At the university, there are vending machines that dispense coffee, just like at SNC. I was pleasantly surprised that the prices were lower than at St. Norbert (everything seems to be more expensive here, for example, a normal sized pack of Orbit gum is sold for about 3 Euros, or $4); however, the amount dispensed is about one third of the amount one would get at any coffee shop in America. As I had not gotten very much sleep the night before, it did not seem like a sufficient amount to me.

Classroom Experiences

In my previous experience, when a professor has to cancel class for whatever reason, he/she rearranges the syllabus to fit everything in to the remaining class periods. Here, one of my professors told us that, because he is teaching the international students, he does not get a week long break like the professors who only teach the native French-speaking students. He didn’t like that, so he just decided to make his own break. He told us that we don’t have class a certain day, but to make up for it, we have to add a half hour on to each class for the next three weeks. I’ll just have to enjoy the day off when it comes.

Alissa De Valk is studying abroad in Grenoble, France, at the University of Grenoble III with the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).