Particularities (Leigh Smalley)

Teachers cancel class and then you have to make it up before the end of the semester…
If a teacher cancels a class here, they are required to make it up at some point before the end of the semester. Some of my teachers knew they were going to have to cancel a few classes before the semester started, so they worked it into our class schedule to start early every week instead of  making the entire class up in one week (having 2 of that class in a week). But, there are some teachers who didn’t plan on missing class, so when they cancel class, they choose a day later in the week or next week to make it up, so instead of having 2 hours of language one day, my class will have 4 hours of language since my teacher missed one class. Personally, I feel like if you miss class, it sucks to be you…I mean isn’t that basically what teachers tell us?

Cars drive on the same roads that the trams drive on…
It’s a little ridiculous…luckily the trams have actual drivers, and it’s not just automatic or whatever you want to call it. Most drivers – much like in the US – are dumb and don’t look before going on the street, or look behind to see if there’s a tram coming. Trams are a more common mode of transportation, at least on the main roads, so I don’t really understand why these drivers need to drive on the tram tracks instead of on other roads, especially during “rush hour” when the trams can get backed up due to stupid drivers…it’s a really weird concept and set up for the roads, but for some reason, it works for the French.

They celebrate Halloween here?!
I guess I had just always heard that Europe doesn’t really celebrate Halloween, which is true to an extent, but I didn’t realize that they celebrate to an extent here. It’s more the kids who celebrate, but they go all out and get dressed up in costumes. They don’t necessarily go door-to-door trick-or-treating, but they dress up for school/class parties or a family might host a party the weekend before or after Halloween to have everyone dress up.

Most french people don’t “snack” or eat in between meals…nor do they eat anywhere other than the kitchen or dining room…
For the most part, unless the French person’s/family’s lifestyle is very modern, they do not eat much if anything between the main meals – breakfast between 7-9am, lunch which is usually somewhere between 1 and 2pm, and then dinner which is anywhere between 7 and 9ish at night depending on the family.  As an American, I find this incredibly interesting, because I know I like to snack a bit between meals without it ruining my appetite for the main meal.  Also, if need be, in the States, my family will eat in the living room or something if no one is home or if there are too many people (for a gathering or something) we will eat anywhere there is room.  Here, at least with my host family, we don’t eat anywhere but the kitchen, and it is pretty much frowned upon to eat in between meals in my host family’s house.  Every family is different, and my family is much more traditional than most I think, but this is how some family’s live their lives, and I find it extremely interesting, and quite challenging at times (with eating so late and trying not to snack as much during the day).

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

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