Today marks one month that I have been in Strasbourg. I guess that time flies when you are having fun because I don’t feel like it has been a month at all. Strasbourg is incredible!!! I love the architecture, food, language, and especially the people. Everyone is soooo sweet here! The students at our host university have helped us out so much and have even planned a couple of trips for us! Everyone has been very patient with my sub-par French skills and have been eager to help me.
I love the public transportation! It makes getting around so simple, fast, and eco friendly! I love that the city is so compact that you can usually walk to wherever you need to be if you do not feel like waiting for the bus. The city has made such a huge effort to be environmentally friendly. You have to bring your own bag to the grocery store, or you have to pay for your own! All of the cars are tiny and a lot of people walk, ride bikes, and use public transportation.
It is crazy how even the little things are so different: electrical outlets, toilets, light switches, pillows, the way that they number floors, kisses on the cheek instead of hugs, the phone making a beep noise instead of a ring, furnaces instead of central heat, nutella instead of peanut butter…I could go on and on. All of these little things have a way of coming together and making you realize quite how significant cultural differences can be in ways that you definitely did not see coming.
This leads me to my favorite class!!! Cross cultural issues in human resource management! I absolutely love the opportunity to dig into the cross cultural issues that have much bigger impacts on international business than I realized before my semester abroad. I like most of my other classes too, but this one is definitely my favorite. A close second would have to be my french class. My professor is so enthusiastic and hilarious. I love every minute of his class and have already learned a lot from him.
As hard as it might be trying to communicate with someone who does not speak any English or trying to fit your square pillow into your rectangular pillow case, or trying to ignore the GIANT craving that you have for Dr. Pepper, it has all been completely worth it. There has not been a day that has gone by that I have not noticed some cultural difference large or small that has opened my mind up just a little bit more to the differences in the ways that humans “across the pond” choose to live their lives. I am learning so much about business, culture, and even about myself! And I have Texas A&M, Mays Business School, and my scholarship donors to thank for it! What an incredible opportunity this is!
Until next time, au revoir!
Categories: 2014, France, Reciprocal Exchange