Here are some first impressions of Toulouse by second semester students.
Molly: “On the one hand, it’s like a whole new world, different from what I’m used to, but on the other hand, I feel like I’ve lived here for a long time. Toulouse is a rich city, full of things to explore and see. Every day, I discover a different place or street I didn’t know before. With its animated culture scene, the city emanates a vibrant energy. I’m happy to be here for the next five months or so…enough time to explore the city in all of its glory!”
Amy: “This first week in Toulouse has been very interesting. Because I live far from the center, I need to get used to walking a lot and using public transportation, but I’m finding out how easy it is. It’s a big city, but the center is fairly small. Everyone is nice and in the evening there are lots of young people because it’s such a student city. It’s been a tiring week, but I’m looking forward to the upcoming months.”
Sarah: “I’ve only spent two weeks in Toulouse and I’ve already seen a lot. Yes, I’ve seen a lot of buildings and outdoor markets that happen on weekends, a performance by Pina Bausch’s dance company…but what I like most are tea rooms. There are tea rooms all over Toulouse and each one is special in its own way. It’s true that you can find chocolate cake in many different tea rooms, but desserts like Nutella scones and pear cakes are what give each tea room its own charm. They’re all chic, like cupcake shops in the United States. My goal is to try them all!”
Alex: “My first week abroad in Toulouse is over, and I’ve learned a lot in very little time. Slowly but surely, I’m learning how to navigate the public transportation system, as well as other French customs. French habits are very different from American ones, and sometimes adapting to them can be difficult. For instance, I always have to remember to close the door and to turn off the lights each time I leave a room. I’m not used to doing these things at home. I think that, for the moment, the most difficult adjustment has been being far away from my family, my friends, my girlfriend and all of the materials comforts of the United States. Nevertheless, living in France has given me the opportunity to make new friends and to learn about a new culture. My classes are difficult (because they’re in French!) and my adjustment is slow. Still, I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to the next four months!”
Lindsey: “Last summer I was in Toulouse for five weeks. I already find the two experiences different because of my host family and the program. During the summer, I had to participate in a lot of Dickinson activities and I didn’t have much free time. This semester, there’s a lot of free time to explore the city and to take classes at my university (Political Science). I also have been able to talk to a lot of Erasmus (study abroad) students. I can already feel that I’m in for full immersion this semester. The difference between my hosts is also interesting. My current family is a nuclear family whereas this summer I lived with a woman and her boyfriend. Now I have more than one perspective on family life in France.”