Salut from Strasbourg!

Strasbourg, for those unaware just like I was, is a city in the Bas-Rhin sector of France located right along France’s eastern border with Germany. Looking at the pictures from previous students with CIBS, it is evident how gee-yorgeous Strasbourg’s city streets are. The Germanic, wooden houses lining cobbled streets is just as breathtaking in person as it is in pictures. The towering cathedral is simply stunning, and so, so much bigger in person. For four euros, you can climb winding, centuries-old stairs up to the top and look over the whole city!

I flew out December 31st for a January 9th semester start date; for my first week, I got familiar with the city. I got lunch from the local kebab shop and dangled my feet over the river as I let the sun warm my cheeks. I made unwise purchases from the trendy secondhand store (90 euros for a faux leather jacket…do not do this, friends). It was a perfect way to start my time in Strasbourg.

I admire France’s approach to groceries and food. I loveeee that baguettes are 65 cents, and everywhere, and delicious. Fluffy on the inside and crunchy and crackly on the outside…they are just like that scene in Ratatouille: “How do you tell how good bread is without tasting it? Not the smell, not the looks, but the sound of the crust.” Indeed!

Furthermore, life passes at a slower pace in France. The days stretch out, long and savored. I take my time choosing apples for breakfast. I am very silent; having little to no French language training, I master bonjour, s’il vous plait, and merci beaucoup quickly. I am very intentional at either using French or saying nothing at all—I do not want to be an entitled American asking locals to bend to my will and language when I’m the one visiting their home. However, this would be better if I had any French training. So I spend a lot of time silent, haha. This silence, so far, has been received without issue. It appears strangers are more reserved with one another than in the States, where I more readily spark conversation with passersby. Aside from other students or youths in my age group, with whom it is okay to be more casual, I wouldn’t say I feel comfortable complimenting the shopkeeper’s shoes, for example. Additionally, politeness and respect are heavily emphasized in French culture. I thought my manners were polished enough being from the South, but it is imperative, I am discovering, to use madam, monsieur, s’il vous plait, merci beaucoup, and bonjour with every interaction.

EM Strasbourg—short for Ecole de Management—is but one building! The nearby Universite de Strasbourg has a small campus with perhaps a dozen buildings, but this is not the case for the business school. It is an airy, breezy building with four stories, I believe—one ground floor, then three higher floors. (Oh, that’s another thing I’m getting used to—the ground floor is usually referred to as 0 instead of 1, with 1 being the first floor up instead of being the first floor of the building.) My professors are amicable and accented, but I’m just grateful for the English instruction. They are all very good at what they do. Sections are small; it feels much like high school, or how things are at my brother’s liberal arts college. I am taking the equivalents of FINC 341 and SCMT 364, here, as well as the very beginners’ French course and a class on the economy of the European Union—a field I am wholly unfamiliar with, so I am very excited to learn more. I can’t tell, but I think my professor for that class works or worked as a lawyer for the European Union? That is amazing! Makes one wonder what he’s doing teaching a bunch of undergrads.

Strasbourg is much bigger and livelier than I expected. I was expecting a very quiet, maybe provincial place, and was almost concerned about not having enough to do. But within my first two weeks, I’ve already visited a lively independent comics store, multiple secondhand shops, and attended a Pub Crawl hosted by my university’s International Students organization. I’ve hung out with the four other Aggies here with me—I sense that the five of us will become close :). Furthermore, I’ve come to realize that Strasbourg is the perfect size, actually! Small enough that getting anywhere is easy as pie and the streets are so peaceful at night, but big enough to have its own transport system and active nightlife. I love it here already. I feel so blessed to spend the next five months here!

Some considerations are still being made, however. Strasbourg is certainly different from College Station. First, I’m unsure about the cold. Living in Texas all my life has not prepared me well for suns that set at 4 pm—er, 16:00, most places use 24-hour time, here—and temperatures in the thirties—gah, sorry, 0-4 degrees. I really emphasized cold-weather clothes when I packed, so have wool sweaters, thermal undershirts and leggings, and cozy, durable socks for every day, plus a scarf, gloves, and huge Costco puffer jacket that my Canadian auntie also uses, but what if it’s not enough! Will keep everyone updated.

I’m also a little concerned about making friends. I’ve discovered that it takes me, like, three actual months before I feel comfortable with a group. I’m comfortable traveling solo, but it would be nice to have people to share destinations and memories with.

Finally, I’m not looking forward to the three-hour lectures! Whew! Sometimes I’m struggling in the seventy-five-minute sections here at Aggieland! Three hours? Three hours! Three! Three of them! Boy! I only have one class a day here, which is thrilling—on Wednesdays I don’t have class at all! Incredible!—but those classes are three hours long! Whew. Whew. Will keep you updated on this as well.

Till we see each other again,


Categories: 2023, France

Hello, my name is Megan Konvicka and I am a Management Information Systems junior studying abroad in Strasbourg, France for Spring 2023. I chose this exchange program because of its central location, established international program, the moderate city size, and I wanted to get to know the French culture more. My goal in this program is to immerse myself in the French culture, travel to nearby countries when possible, and meet new people from all over the world. I have not really been in Europe before, so travel is high on my priority list and I came into this study exchange prepared to see a lot of differences in the cultures here. This blog is representative of my first month of being in Strasbourg

City: Strasbourg is such a pretty town! The architcture is a beautiful French and German blend and walking the streets of cobblestone is both peaceful and lively. Strasbourg is the second biggest student city in France (Paris being the first) so the environment is super friendly and I have seen students everywhere. Everyone I have met so far has been super nice and I have felt safe walking around town. I love how Strasbourg is the perfect size town: big enough to have things to do but small enough to feel homey and manageable. The tram system is extensive, but easy to understand (make sure to go to the CTS store to get a monthly student tram pass because it makes it so easy to travel the city freely). The first two weeks, I was nervous to ride the public transportation alone, but the tram really is quite safe, and so now I use it alone! The weather here is super cloudy (consider bringing or buying Vitamin D pills to compensate for the lack of Texas sun!) and I believe the weather doesn’t hit 50 degrees Fahrenheit until the end of March, so make sure to pack clothes to bundle up correctly (and bring Vitamin C or other medicine in case you get sick). In terms of food, I’d say the food here is quite bland compared to the United States… and there is nothing spicy! Even the French grocery stores don’t have crushed red pepper and I have searched many, many locations. Additionally, ethnic food is not very flavorful unfortunately so if you love spice, I highly recommend you cook it. I have found that French grocery stores in town are typically small and have limited selections. I take a short tram ride to the neighboring town of Kehl, Germany for groceries at EDEKA and they have a super wide selection of products (including spices and international products), typically at cheaper prices than in France. Make sure to bring your own reusable tote bag to carry your groceries because disposable bags cost money! What can’t be beat in French grocery stores though is their Wine and Cheese selection. The Alsace region Strasbourg is in is known for their white wine and stinky cheeses; I’ve loved trying so many of the different types.

School: At EM Strasbourg, the classes are structured in time blocks of three hours, and the schedule is completely up to the professor. Some classes start your first week of being in France, some start at the end of February! This ambiguity in scheduling means that every week is different… but also, it means that you might not have classes on Mondays or Fridays, giving you long weekends for travel. The first two weeks of being in Strasbourg, I only had one class period. One. So it felt like I was still on Winter Break. Don’t let the three hour time blocks intimidate you… the professors like to give a 15 minute coffee break halfway through! The building of EM Strasbourg is quite modern; each classroom has wonderful large windows and it’s relatively easy to navigate. Also – I cracked up when I found out that there are TWO student bars inside the Business School! You can go and order yourself a drink in between classes and can always find a group of students hanging out there. I was also surprised to see that most of the University Apartments are at least a 15 minute tram ride from the business school; the tram ride is not bad at all and when the weather warms up, I plan to walk to school! The international program at EM scheduled a couple of events in the beginning of the year to introduce us to French culture, which I appreciated. However, there are two international programs at EM (RUN BY STUDENTS) that do an AMAZING job at creating special, organized events for international students. Please go to these events (most of them are free!), as this is the one place, outside of class, where I have met other international students. The names of the student organizations are Bureau de l’International (BDI) and ESN Strasbourg. I have not really met any student yet who full-time goes to EM Strasbourg, I hope that in the future months, I will be able to mingle with the French students. I have noticed I tend to hang out with my fellow Aggies because it’s a touch of home and familiarity, but I’ve been reminding myself to reach out to other international students to hang out as well, since getting to know new people and cultures is a really special part of studying abroad.

Travel: The three hour class periods have allowed for me to schedule in a lot of travel! So far, I’ve traveled pretty equally by train and bus, and more rarely by plane. I know that there are a lot of strikes in France so I’m interested to see how that affects the public transportation. It’s important to check strike schedules to make sure you don’t travel on these days and get stuck somewhere! I spend most of my free time planning trips, typically up to three weeks ahread. Everywhere in Europe is still really cold, it being January, so a lot of locations have few tourists (and little greenery lol). One month into the study exchange and I’ve already gotten sick three times – mostly because of not bundling up correctly and not prioritizing my health while traveling. I’ve learned my lesson! It’s interesting to see other people make travel plans because you quickly learn that everyone likes to travel a little bit differently, whether it be budgets, time spent in one location, or the activities done in the location. Learning how YOU like to travel is part of the experience; try to travel with people who have the same preferences as you! I love how accessible reaching other countries is; I hope I won’t forget to explore the Alsace region around Strasbourg during my time here too (because again, Strasbourg and the cities around it are SO BEAUTIFUL)!

I cannot wait to continue my journey on this semester exchange. I miss my family, friends, and being back home, but admittedly right now, my excitement of being here in Europe and in new environments dilutes that feeling of missing home. I need to remember to call my family more often. I wonder when Strasbourg will start feeling like “home base.” Watch out for my blog later this semester 😉

Categories: 2023, France

This is my second time abroad and going into this experience I did not know what to expect. I arrived in Strasbourg, France on New Year’s Eve, so it was crazy to experience the last day of 2022 and the first day of 2023 in a new country.

I believe that Strasbourg is the perfect study-abroad city. There is a unique history because of its French and German roots, it has all of the amenities of a big city but still feels calm, and it is centralized in Europe so it is easy to travel.

One of the first places I saw was the cathedral in the city center and it was so beautiful. The architecture is stunning and you can even climb all the way to the top for a gorgeous view of the city. Arriving in January most of the decorations from the Christmas markets was still up and it is so fun to walk through the streets, feeling the Christmas spirit.

The structure of EM Strasbourg is quite different than what I am used to at Texas A&M. Classes vary in start time, and how long the course goes, and are typically three hours long once a week. Grading is also quite different. Grades are decided on two-three factors (exams and a group project), and there is a lot of group work.

So far, I am loving living in Strasbourg and going to EM. There are a few things that I hope to get out of the next four months. I hope to increase my fluency in French and take advantage of living in a country where it is the main language. I hope to travel to as many countries as possible in order to increase my understanding of different foods, cultures, and history. I plan on making friends with the people in my classes who come from all over the world. I look forward to the group projects and a better understanding the French higher education system through my coursework in different classes. I am also hoping to gain a better understanding of myself through living alone for the first time, interacting with people from different backgrounds, and experiencing new things. Overall, I am very excited to see the lessons I will learn and the growth I will experience through being a student at EM Strasbourg.

Categories: 2023, France


I have just arrived in Strasbourg, France and will be living here for the next 4 months. Upon arrival, things were different here than they are at home right away. In order to travel around the country, you must take trains, which was a new concept for me. After arriving in Strasbourg, I know I will love my time here as it is a beautiful and lively city. The people of Strasbourg have been kind to me, even when I can’t communicate with them perfectly in French. They are also very eager to help me when I need it.

My international program at the EM Business School has had orientation events for the group this week, for us to meet others from around the world doing a semester exchange. It has been a very unique experience so far getting to meet other students from different countries, who I am more similar to than I would have imagined.

Although the French get stereotyped as being rude to foreigners, I have not felt that in the time I have been here. The culture in the country has been remarkable and I have loved trying local foods, my favorite being the “pain au chocolat.”

One of the biggest differences I have noticed this week is the means of transport in Strasbourg. Biking, walking, and public transport is the most common form of travel for locals and tourists here, which is different from the US as cars are heavily used there. Another difference I have noticed is the laid back culture of the French, the mornings start slow for the people here and evenings are social. This has been different to see compared to the hustle culture I am used to in the US.

This semester, I hope to gain a new sense of independence while I am here as I will be navigating every aspect of living in a foreign country. I would also like to become more open minded to different ways of living in the culture I see here, knowing it is completely different from what I am used to back home. I hope that throughout this semester, I am able to develop new skills and make lasting friendships with those I meet here.

Categories: 2023, France

It’s almost been three weeks since I arrived in Strasbourg and my experience has been great so far. With this being my first trip overseas and my first solo trip, my anxiety was through the roof when I arrived in Paris. Initially, I was worried about missing my train, getting pickpocketed, and not being able to understand anyone and I can confirm that none of these things happened! If you just ask for a little bit of help, then someone will point you in the right direction. Once I arrived in Strasbourg, the biggest difference I noticed, compared to the US, was their public transportation. You can get anywhere in Strasbourg by tram, bus, or walking. It’s really easy and cheap. Speaking of cheap, the cost of living in Strasbourg is very affordable and there are so many cool restaurants and bakeries. There is a bakery on every corner with so many fresh pastries to try. I have been living off of croissants and pain au chocolat since coming here.

Regarding school, I have had to get used to the three-hour lectures, but they are quite manageable. Professors usually give a 15 min break halfway through and it helps with breaking up class time. It is nice only having to attend class once a week. Another big difference compared to A&M is that your class schedule is unpredictable. Not every class starts at the beginning of the semester, some start and end halfway through! Also, the meeting location for each class changes every week and you don’t have certain classes every week. Though every week is different and my schedule is random, it is nice to not have the same classes every week. Currently, I am taking 18 hours abroad and only have two weeks of the semester where all my classes intersect. So far school has been very manageable.

Some culture shocks I have experienced while being in Strasbourg:

  • A lot of people here don’t speak English (shocker) (note to self: practice French before coming!)
  • You have to pay to use the bathrooms & water isn’t free
  • Strikes happen almost every week
  • Everyone smokes
  • Shops close at 8 pm
  • Everything is closed on Sundays
  • 2-hour lunch breaks

Regarding travel, I have been to Paris, Frankfurt, and Baden-Baden in the past two weekends! I have learned a lot about the history of these regions and it is rewarding to learn about cultures so different from the one I am used to. Below I have included some photos from my travels.

Categories: 2023, France

When I left for France, I didn’t have much of an idea of what my study abroad would entail. I figured I would have fun, travel and meet new people, but I had no idea how much this experience would have changed me. The amount of confidence and independence I have gained was something I don’t think I would have gained if I didn’t take the chance and study abroad. I was able to meet new people who were vastly different from me and travel with them, or even traveling solo. All these things gave me confidence and experience in planning, putting myself out there, and just overall confidence in myself. 

Furthermore, my understanding of France and its culture had altered as well. I thought many people would be the stereotypical French, standoffish and rude. While the standoffish part was correct, as many French students didn’t put themselves out there to introduce themselves in classrooms, the rudeness factor was completely wrong. Even in simple encounters in stores, most were always kind and willing to speak some English when I was having trouble speaking French. Although some Parisians did live up to my initial judgments. 

One of the things I was most happy about was my location in France, Strasbourg. It was the perfect mix of history and culture, and still had a city scene. In addition, the architecture and it being considered one of the European capitals, I never got bored of exploring it and learning all that I could. With its large cathedral that can be seen from miles away, everytime I came back from traveling, I’d see it in the distance and knew I was home. I didn’t experience much of a culture shock when I arrived, and I think it was because Strasbourg didn’t overwhelm me. It was a sweet city that wasn’t dangerous or a really big city. The people were kind and it was easy to get into a routine and become comfortable with the area. 

My study abroad might have started off on the wrong foot, but it quickly became my favorite college experience, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Categories: France

I truly had the most amazing time living and studying in Strasbourg France. Now that my time is over there I have started to digest and reflect on my time abroad! The cultural lifestyle has definitely impacted me. I feel less stress in terms of rushing to complete my life goals and feel like I have had so many more opportunities for me to explore, especially abroad. I have even considered moving abroad for work, which is a thought I had before going but now I see as a real possibility. Through my French class and day-to-day living, I really have an understanding of how business is conducted here and how they work day to day. All of my professors were french and more often than not we would get to class at the same time, if not them after me. You are considered on time when the class time starts so no worry to get there way before the start time, (but also don’t show up more than 5 minutes late). In restaurants, there were many times when we stayed past closing and I had to wave down the waiter to pay and go home. 

I feel like my biggest learning adjustment was all of the travel I did abroad. Traveling by train was totally new to me and felt foreign for the first few months. But thankfully the train always showed up and once aboard it was so peaceful. Everyone is always very respectful and tends to themselves during the ride. I really benefited from public transportation and miss it now that I am back in the states. 

While abroad I was able to visit 13 countries and countless cities. My eyes are truly opened to the world around me and I have a new appreciation for cultures I did not know before. One of the largest impacts of my trip was the food. Trying new and traditional foods was so much fun and really made up a lot of my travels. I feel encouraged to try new things and look more into other cultures. Another thing I learned was how enforced the EU mindset is among EU countries. Students are highly encouraged to go abroad and learned that in most friend groups everyone studies abroad. I definitely have encouraged my friends back home to consider it if they have the chance to!

It is crazy to think that part of me already misses living abroad and being surrounded by a language I only somewhat speak. I feel that studying abroad was a healthy challenge that pushed me to be more independent, creative, and resilient. I was definitely tired a lot of the time but in the moments in between I was experiencing once-in-a-lifetime adventures. I am so thankful to have gone on this semester abroad and encourage others to do the same!

Categories: France

I cannot believe my semester in France is already coming to an end! The last 4 months have been packed with so many amazing adventures and I have absolutely loved it! My schedule this semester gave me a lot of free time for traveling and enjoying the cultural things within Strasbourg like visiting museums, going to French movies and seeing concerts! One of the many things I loved about living in France is their encouragement of young people to develop themselves by learning more about the country’s culture. They do this by giving lots of student discounts and allowing students to get in free museums all over France. This is one of the many ways that France works to protect their culture from other influences and it is something that I really respect about the country. I also took a French Culture class at EM and it was so helpful in understanding some cultural things that I was not aware of which helped me navigate some culture shock that I experienced throughout the semester. Also, I even became friends with the receptionist at my residence who helped me practice my French! Overall, I really enjoyed the lifestyle in Strasbourg. Some things I liked doing were walking around the canals that surrounded the city, reading in cafes or at the Parc de l’Orangerie, and going to a language cafe and meeting other international students. There was always a nice atmosphere and plenty to do and enjoy around the city. 

My classes at EM were also really interesting and I enjoyed having the opportunity to work on projects with people from all over the world. EM Strasbourg is big on group projects so I had one in every one of my classes. I also really liked how all my professors placed a lot of emphasis on applying the information we learned by doing workshops. There really was not much actual school work besides a midterm assignment and the final exam, so I had to really make sure I kept up with the material. But, it allowed me to have a little more relaxed schedule and not feel stressed about deadlines all the time. 

Looking back at the beginning of my exchange, it was really hard in the beginning with culture shock and being far away from my family and friends back home. But, I am so glad I decided to come to France for a semester because it challenged me in so many ways and it gave me an opportunity to meet so many new people and visit so many new places! I learned so much about myself throughout the semester and I plan to incorporate these things into my everyday life back at home. For instance, I learned how to be more spontaneous and open to new experiences because that is where you have the best moments and make the best memories! I also learned to enjoy the little moments of everyday life, like strolling through a park or just sitting on a bench reading and enjoying beautiful weather. Daily life was definitely not as hectic as it is back home since I was not in class as often and didn’t have as much school work. So, it was a nice change in pace and allowed me to really take in and enjoy the culture. Overall, my semester in France was absolutely amazing and it has definitely helped me develop a more global mindset which will be helpful wherever I go!

Categories: France

Throughout my semester abroad, I felt that I really got a feel for the French lifestyle and how the culture differs from that of the US from a business stand point. It was really interesting being able to engage with so many different individuals from all over the world. My classes at EM Strasbourg were filled with all international students, which made for a really fun class atmosphere. Each individual truly brought something unique to the table that I never would have gotten the chance to experience at home in the States. For example, in my Business Negotiations class, we were put in groups to simulate a negotiation between a seller and a buyer of a certain good or service, and the individuality of each group member being from a different country and culture made for a very insightful look into what it really means to have a global mindset, especially in a business setting.

I adored living in Strasbourg, especially once spring time rolled around. All of the trees were in bloom with absolutely beautiful pink, yellow, and purple flowers surrounding the river banks that ran around the city center. It seemed that once the sun came out, so did the people. During the winter months of January, February, and even into March, the skies were pretty grey every day, nobody wanted to be outside, and the ambiance in general could be a bit gloomy because of it. However, when the weather warmed up and everything started blooming, the entire city got a whole new feeling to it, which was absolutely delightful. The streets were always busy and everyday you’d pass at least 10 people sunbathing in the grass along the river.

I’d say my initial impressions of French people and French culture were generally pretty accurate. They remained pretty closed off and impersonal to strangers, but I definitely got used to it as time went on. The more time I spent in France, the more I was able to appreciate and develop an affinity for the private lifestyle of French people, and overall, the European lifestyle.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t change a thing about my abroad experience! There were challenging times for sure, but immersing myself in a foreign country and accepting the culture as my own has taught me so much and has truly broadened my world view. I’d recommend Strasbourg to any student looking for an immersive exchange experience!

Categories: France

Almost everyone has heard the trope about finding yourself abroad. The truth is that the cliche comes from some truth. It is amazing to see how much your life can change at this age in a span of months. I’ve made lifelong friendships with people around the world who I still talk to on a regular basis, had a friend visit from Canada, landed my dream job, and my roommate became my best friend–all as a result of my semester abroad. All of which have been incredibly exciting. None, however, have been more revealing than two major lessons:

  1. Fulfillment comes from relationships.
  2. Seeing the world through the lens and experiences of others will be transformative in becoming a more well-rounded person.

For starters, I was nervous about studying abroad because I was afraid of being alone. Being surrounded by incredible friends was the single determinant to making the experience manageable and enjoyable. Having a network of support was so important that I urge anyone to make it a priority. It can be hard, but opening yourself up to opportunity means you may find that network in the most surprising places.

The bureaucratic experience of studying abroad is hard. I won’t lie. From course approval to opening a bank account in France, there seems like there are countless hoops to jump through. It may feel incredibly frustrating in the moment. The biggest advice I can give in these moments is to exercise empathy. The person on the other side of that French bank desk or school administrator does not know the long road you have taken to get here and we should not expect them to. After all, they have their own challenges to go through (like dealing with the back-end of exchange students or University bureaucracy). Taking this approach will allow you to focus on and internalize the good and lessons, rather than cutting the learning short because of something as futile as frustration.

Overall, the lessons of my study abroad extended beyond the beautiful scenery and language. They are ones that I will continue to exercise in every dimension of my life moving forward. They also made me prioritize travel … travel is really fun. 🙂

Good luck!

Categories: France