I cannot believe how much I have already learned in just my first two weeks in Strasbourg! I knew it would take time to adjust to the differences between French culture and the culture back home, but it has been an incredible learning experience so far. One thing that surprised me the most when I first arrived was how safe I felt. I arrived in Strasbourg much later in the evening than I anticipated because of a delayed flight. However, being picked up by a member of the international student group at the university made me feel very welcome and made it much easier to get to my residence. I also live right next to the university and fairly close to the city center which has been great for going into the city often and navigating my way around campus. The city of Strasbourg is fairly small, and I live right next to the university and near the city center, which is very convenient. So far I have loved having the opportunity to walk anywhere I want or take a quick ride on the tram to get across town.

I arrived a few days before classes started so I had a little bit of time to familiarize myself with the business school and the rest of campus. My first few classes at EM Strasbourg Business School were very similar in style to classes at A&M, except the fact that they are 3-4 hours long just once a week. In addition, my schedule changes each week, meaning some weeks I have classes and other weeks I do not. This is an interesting change from having a consistent schedule each week at A&M, but I am excited to see for the classes I am enrolled in!

Aside from the academic differences, there were some things I had to learn pretty quickly when I arrived, such as when and where to get food. Many stores and restaurants are closed during some parts of the day and nearly all shops are closed on Sundays. This was a challenge because for the first few days after I arrived, I had no idea where I was supposed to get food because it seemed that everywhere I went was closed. Although this is quite different from home, where I can go to HEB or any store to get whatever I need at any time of day, I do admire how the French value time off and rest. For example, I went to a park the first Sunday I was here, after many failed attempts at finding food, and I found so many people taking a walk and having a picnic. This change in pace, although frustrating at first, has helped me settle in and enjoy the beauty of the city.

Another challenge that I faced when I arrived was the language barrier. It has been a very humbling experience trying to communicate with people who do not speak any English and instead try to communicate with the little French that I know. But I have seen these interactions as opportunities to grow and challenge myself to really learn about the French language and customs. I am excited to continue pushing myself to really integrate into the French culture.

Overall, my first two weeks in Strasbourg have been amazing. Although I am still adjusting to this foreign environment, the challenges I have faced so far have been valuable in helping me step out of my comfort zone and have some really great experiences. I am looking forward to challenging myself as an individual and I am excited for the rest of the semester here in France!