I can’t believe how much time has passed! I only got here January 13!

First off, the first week was fun, simple, and not exciting. I met the others from the group that I did not know, as well as our “den mother,” Annick. She is incredibly nice, and every other time we see her she has money for us (our monthly “allowance” included in the Study Abroad tuition), so that’s always a good quality of someone. I discovered the “centre-ville” (center city) of Besançon quickly – it’s an old and beautiful city, with beautiful churches, incredibly delicious food and very cool stores. The second week, we all ate together (all the SUNY New Paltz kids, one SUNY Albany, and three SUNY Buffalo) as a group with Annick at the “Tour de la Pelote” (a really old restaurant). It was amazing! I tasted (ate) a rabbit pâté – delicious, even though it was very bizarre.

My classes started January 24 at the CLA (Center for Applied Linguistics). The CLA building was refurnished fairly recently. The first week was complicated: in France, you go to every course that interests you and you choose after having tried your courses. Anyway, I did the same thing, and my courses are interesting.
Monday – No classes!
Tuesday – General Linguistics
Wednesday – Oral Expression & Comprehension; French Modern Society; French Orality
Thursday – French Writing; Francophone Litterature
Friday – French Writing; Oral Expression & Comprehension; Contemporary French History

As for trips, I went to Zürich, Switzerland, which was amazing (I’ll post about it later). I also went to the “Percée du Vin Jaune” (in Arbois, Jura) in February, which was amazing; I’ll explain it in a later post too.

I love the culture and the food in France. Everything I eat is more fresh than in the U.S., and I have never had a bad meal. We used to eat often some “kébab” (it is not at all the same thing as “kebab” in English). Kébab in Besançon is referring to lamb meat in a little wheat wrap or bread roll. My god it is so good. Also, we eat at a pizzeria almost every week. The pizza here is definitely better than in the U.S. (sorry everyone!).
Ahhh, and then the bread. I eat at least a loaf of bread a day (usually 1-2). The bread here is so good. At the beginning of my stay here, I had at least one sandwich per day. Oh yeah, and by the way, I ate cow tongue one night…it was so good!

Finally, the culture and the people are fun and interesting. I still have a lot of difficult with conversation; the French language is still difficult. Nevertheless, I love France, and I’m sure that I’ll eventually be fine with the language.

Here are some photos of Besançon!

The café at the CLA

A café (at the CLA) !
The bridge of Canot (CLA to the right)
A waffle with Nutella
The statue of Victor Hugo (vandalized – poor guy)
Le phénomene hipster !
A bridge at Rue Veil Picard
The river
The other side of this bridge

– Matt Lipinski


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