Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Magical Francyland

Francyland is magical. Now, I am in Nantes. Nantes is really cool. It’s a bigger city in Western France with an extremely attractive centre-ville with lots of neat bars and cafés.

After the semi-first week of class, I deserve this weekend in Nantes. I have a fullllll schedule with some awesome classes. I tested into the 300 level competency and am very content with my placement and my professors. My language prof is one of the coolest French guys I have ever met. He is such a great professor, and he makes so many jokes. He is especially interactive with his students, and he promotes stepping out of the box, meeting new people in class and trying new things.

It has been especially interesting and self satisfying to make friends in my second language. For example, I have made good friends with three Chinese students, Ting, Haoyi and Siyue Lu. Our communication has been restricted to our second language, French, which adds an interesting element to a friendship. Ting and Haoyi are mischievous and always making jokes about different things in class. Having multiple classes with them has been hilarious. After every class, they always ask me if I will smoke a cigarette with them (I have resisted the habit for 21 years now) so I stand with them while they smoke and talk about football, girls or the upcoming class.

My classes are excellent. I have a course about modern France –– the financial system, transportation, politics and modern culture. It is going to be very interesting. I also have French history, grammar, general language course, as well as oral expression. I am particularly excited for the first oral class because I met my prof at a crazy party the other night. Long story short, she’s a recent graduate and teaches French to international students in my program, CIDEF at l’Université Catholique de l’Ouest. Yes, you read correctly –– I partied with my professor haha. We went to a really cool party the other night and after a few shots, she asked me what I was doing in Angers and had the most priceless look on her face when she found out I was a student of hers in her Expression Orale class! One word to describe that –– ASTUCE!

Before I get to have “Madame” Emma Jane in class, I can relax in Nantes. This is my second visit with my friends Yohann and Gwenn. The first visit was by car for my friend Jonas’ metal concert in Nantes. That was quite an experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The metal scene in France is very similar to that in the U.S., and it was just a really cool experience to see some Frenchies headbanging and moshing. The concert was at a really cool grunge bar on the outskirts of the city.

Tonight, Susan, Gwenn, Yohann, my friend Matthias and Bebe are heading to an electronic concert, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve really been into the Euro house and trance music since my arrival. Yohann has really helped me get into some cool French artists like C2C, Cassius, Flume, Sebastian, etc.

By far, Yohann’s favorite artist is Daft Punk, and they are one of my favorite DJ duos of all time. I’m particularly excited for the new Daft Punk album to be released in a few weeks (as rumored). That will be legendary, especially because I will be in their country of origin when it is released. I will wait outside the record store in Angers to snag a vinyl copy of it when it comes out. I’m crossing my fingers for a tour to follow and maybe score a ticket to a show. Daft Punk concerts are known for their superior light show and impeccable acoustics.

After all, I will be running wild around greater Europe this summer and adding a Daft Punk concert into my itinerary would be the greatest thing to happen to my summer –– considering Tomorrowland tickets sold out in lightening fast time –– five minutes. I had planned to purchase tickets for one of the biggest music festivals in the world (Tomorrowland in Brussels, Belgium) on the last weekend of July, which coincides with my last weekend in Europe. My dreams were crushed when over 500,000 tickets sold out in five minutes. After all, there are a lot more summer festivals, and I am sure that I can find something to occupy my time between the 9th of June and the 31st of July.

Speaking of summer, my plans are coming together for the summer. Susan and I finish school June 8, and as of now, we will travel to England to meet up with one of my best friends, Robert, and his British petite-amie and good friend, Jess. We will road trip around the UK (on the left side of the road) for a week and then travel to Amsterdam where we will have an Ole Miss reunion with so many of my friends (domestic and foreign) around to 20th of June. There are about 15 of us that will be in Amsterdam at the same time. It will be really great to see my friends again. Afterwards, I will most likely head back to Paris to wait for the arrival of one of my best friends, Gabe, on July 9th. We plan to backpack around Europe for three weeks before I return to the states and Gabe returns to Honduras.

Drew Carter is a junior International Studies student at the Croft Institute, University of Mississippi. He is currently spending the spring semester studying abroad in France and blogging about his experiences there.

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