It feels like just yesterday I was writing about my initial impressions of Strasbourg. This semester has been one filled with growth and experiences that I remember for the rest of my life.
While in Strasbourg, I learned many of the nuances of doing business in France as compared to the United States. For example, many of the French people can speak English, but if you begin conversations in French, they will treat you much nicer. As I learned in one of my classes, this comes from the pride the French have in their language. Even if you cannot speak fluently, communicating in the native language goes a long way. Another thing is that the French take their work breaks very seriously. This applies to vacation time, lunch breaks, weekends, or even breaks from class. At EM Strasbourg, classes were three hours long. This is a long time to listen to a lecture and many times we would be given a couple breaks throughout class. During this time, professors encouraged the students to use the break to walk around, grab coffee, whatever we needed in order to be more engaged with the lecture. This applies to businesses around France as well. Businesses in France are closed or close very early on Sundays. In America, we would view this as an inconvenience since our culture is one of satisfying demands immediately. Additionally, many businesses that are not restaurants close during the work week by 6. The French make sure workers are resting from their job and get breaks in order to work more efficiently and productively. One thing that stood out to me in my finance class was the fact that French students were learning about what was happening economically in France, the EU, and the United States. The students are aware of world economics as opposed to focusing solely on what was going on in their own country.
I learned so much during my time in Strasbourg. Everyday activities, interactions in the classroom, and just talking to my international friends opened my eyes to how different cultures are from one another. My time throughout my study abroad was filled with countless interactions and experiences that taught me so much. The four months abroad flew by and I can’t wait for my next international experience.