Getting up to Speed

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve got around to a post. That’s a good thing, it means I’ve been super busy. Fall is in full swing here in Strasbourg, leaves are changing color, filling my bike basket, getting stuck in my hair. It’s great!

Seriously though, it’s quite beautiful.

I mentioned in my last post I was doing a presentation in my French class on the Acadians……nailed it! My teacher was thoroughly impressed with my presentation; he even complimented all Americans as a whole on presentation skills.

Another observation that I’ve made about how the college experience here differs is that there is a larger focus on the real world aspect of business, not so much theory as back home (both are important).

My classes are 3 hours long as opposed to my normal 50 minutes or an hour and a half. Yet, I pay more attention here in class than back home! In class we use real world examples and most of my teachers double as professionals in their field. In class I learn a limited amount of theory but we study a lot of businesses as examples. We do case studies on actual corporations, and after learning a concept it’s always related to an actual practice.

**There are pros and cons to both styles of class.

Aside from school, I’ve also been getting more and more accustomed to my city.

I went to the mall the other day. Most of the stores I typically shop at are on a strip down a street. I had no clue we had an ACTUAL MALL! I definitely missed being able to shop hop and the convenience of having everything in one place!

Another cool thing about my city is I get to recycle here! It’s honestly the cutest thing ever. We have a recycling bin not too far from our apartment on the way to school. When my bag is full I load it into my bike basket and drop it off there.

Speaking of my bike, I find it hysterical that I have a GPS talking to me as I bike places. I can imagine what people think as I bike past them and my British Siri says, “In 200m turn left on to Boulevard de la Marne”.

Another bike-related happening was this past week. I was riding my bike near the main station in the centre of town, “Homme de Fer” and trying to dodge the loads of people, I crashed into a pole. Everyone around me sucked in their breath and just stared at me. I quickly got off and walked my bike the remainder of the time……quelle honte.

As for the food I’ve been eating….quick lesson for you guys! Francesca made some Carbonara (I believe I’ve mentioned this, if not it was bomb)….and did you know that carbonara is bacon bits and noodles with an egg to make them sticky with parmesan. I had no idea. If that was common knowledge then just disregard that. And about that Parmesan….we eat the real deal here, I’m talking grating it straight from the block! And have you ever wondered how much spaghetti to cook for guests, well Francesca’s Italian secret is that a box of 500g of spaghetti is good for 5 people.

The fact that everything here is measured with the metric system is a huge adjustment, cooking, walking somewhere, trying to figure out if I need to wear a jacket. I’ve changed my weather app to celsius so I can start learning what the measurement correlates to with the weather!

Concerning school we gave a presentation on LSU for their study abroad fair. We then had a meet and greet and one of the student’s question was , “Is it true that it’s difficult to eat healthy in the U.S.?” There is this constant mention that the U.S. population is obese, and all we eat is junk food. I told this girl that yes, fresh foods are more expensive, however, it shouldn’t be a problem considering it’s custom here to prepare meals as opposed to back home where convenience takes priority.

A friend of mine from Scotland was talking about food with me as well, and she says, “You’re dinners must be amazing…..Fried Chicken!”. I burst out laughing……..I could not believe she thought we actually eat fried chicken all the time in Louisiana. I shared my love for Popeyes, but explained that at least in my experience, that was the extent of my fried chicken dinners.

I even get strange responses when talking about peanut butter and jelly! This combination is a foreign concept to Europeans apparently, and one girl responded expressing how many calories that must be and how unhealthy that was…& to think this was what my mom considered a healthy snack….

I’ve been making tons of great memories here, and meeting loads of cool people. So many new friends that at first I was always looking for things to do, and now I oftentimes have to make a choice because everyone wants to make plans (not just with me, I’m not that cool; the respective friend groups).

I also joined the college soccer team! I found out we’ll be playing in a tournament cup and will play other colleges, and even travel to Paris and Lyon! In addition, we practice at the F.C. Kronenbourg fields and their women’s coach asked myself and 2 other players to play with them. It’s still undecided but I think it’s pretty cool that this opportunity even exists. I think it’d be so neat to say I played for a club soccer team in Europe! This just happened on Monday, so no decisions made yet. However, I think it’d be a great experience, and a chance to practice my French considering at soccer practice thats the only thing everyone speaks with each other. There are only 2 exchange students on the team! Myself, and a girl from Switzerland.

Concerning my travels, this weekend I went to Rome, Italy! It was a 14 hour bus ride from Strasbourg and we went with a group from school. Shutting out the never-ending bus ride,  it was well worth it! I saw all the typical sites!

As for the experience and what I thought….I cried when I saw the Pope, I felt super underdressed in the club, everything is super close and squished (Trevi Fountain is right in the middle of a very small square in the middle of the city!), the School of Athens in the Vatican Museum is amazing, and Creation of Adam not so much (It’s a small panel amongst an extremely detailed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel), you can’t compare true Italian cuisine with Italian from back home (pasta with any type of meat is not a thing, it’s mostly just different types of sauce….also Alfredo is American…this doesn’t exist in Italy @francesca).

Finally, I spoke Spanish with the Italians when trying to get my point across and for the most part it worked out okay!

This weekend I’m going to Switzerland, and then in November I’ll be heading to Budapest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Brings People Together

So the past week and a half has been quite eventful! I’m not sure if I had mentioned this but our new flatmate from Portugal arrived! Her name is Diana, she is from Portugal and came to Strasbourg to work at the Portuguese Consulate (She even has a special passport, so it’s legit).

As I had mentioned in my last post being a tourist in your own city often gets overlooked, however, Diana and I made the trip to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame here in Strasbourg. It’s huge…. 332 steps later and here was the view.

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We gazed out on to our city from the top and since she speaks Portuguese we discussed our languages as well as cultural differences. Diana loves to talk about people’s point of view and is always asking me about Louisiana and the South because of the many stereotypes and assumptions of the people and mindset. In this conversation I told her pretty much the only thing I know about Portugal is that it’s where Christopher Columbus was from. It then dawned on me if he was Portuguese that could not possibly be his name, so ladies and gents after investigating I would like to inform you all the man’s name is actually……

Cristóvão de Colombo

that ending is pronounced like “oww”

Later in the week, Tatiana cooked some Russian soup for us called, Borscht. It was red because it’s made with beets, it was a pretty interesting dish. We ate it with egg cucumber, carrot, fresh cream, and parsley.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "russian borscht"

***this is just to show what it looked like, this picture isn’t mine. 

I love how diverse our apartment is, and anytime I mention to the people who I live with they’re always super intrigued and asking how I got this arrangement. Despite all of the inconveniences with Marie-Anne (our landlord), it’s turned out to be an awesome house to live in!

During class this week, we had a meeting for the study abroad fair we will be presenting our universities at and Abi and I met this guy names Alex there from California. He’s French and Mexican. He came to study here for a semester to get more in touch with his French culture considering his grandparents and mother’s side of his family lives here and he’s never had a chance to experience that.

*I thought I had it hard with Damian being far away, but our situation is temporary….his girlfriend lives in Marseille!*

He said he wanted to visit Louisiana more than any of the other states because of it’s heritage and so he passed the friendship test…@Abi usually dogs Louisiana so she’s constantly losing brownie points.

Alex mentioned that there was a bus going to Oktoberfest that evening and so spur of the moment I bought a ticket and at 1:00am I was on the bus with other ERASMUS students about to experience Oktoberfest in Munich,Germany!

Oktoberfest was fun, though in all honestly (and I’m sorry for any German friend who may read this) Louisiana does it better.

When we got to Munich it was 6:45…..there were people standing in line to get in to the festival already drinking beers, dressed in Lederhosen. They take their traditional costume seriously. After dismounting from the bus, more festival-goers began to arrive and it became a sea of dresses, cleavage, leather shorts, and high socks.

The security took their jobs very seriously and it was actually quite terrifying to hear people screaming at you in German…..it is a very angry language, and it didn’t help that he was actually angry.

In line I became friends with some Australian guys who were part of our group; Tom and Myles. We stuck together with Alex the whole day. So, Come 9am we got to enter and the way Oktoberfest works is that you don’t walk around with beer on the grounds. There are about 10 tents and you have to be seated at a table in order to be served which is why people arrive so early. Well, when they unleashed the crowd it was a free for all and everyone just started running to get a spot.

Schützen-Festzelt is the tent we went to; it’s the very first one and one of the most popular because of the younger crowd.

At 10am all of the waiters and waitresses began bringing beers to the table. They carry out maybe 10 at a time and whoever wants one pays for it and the table slides it down. This continues throughout the day and they just keep it coming. Each mug is a liter of beer. (almost 3 – 12 oz. bottles)

Traditional German music plays in the tents and everyone stands on the tables to dance and sing along.

Lastly, for those of you who know me, let me just say the bathroom line was outrageous and there were some close ones. Considering how many people go, at Mardi Gras they have port-o-potties. Here, it was actual bathrooms with a janitor on staff cleaning throughout the day. It was similar to a conveyor belt and they shuffled us in and directed us to which stalls were open to keep the line moving.

Outside of the tents the grounds are set up like a state fair and they have rides.

At some point my phone screen was cracked. I had it in my jacket pocket to prevent it from getting lost, and I didn’t end up losing it but amidst all the commotion and me taking my jacket off it got cracked, and lucky me it was the 2nd screen….the one that makes the phone actually work.

So despite it being a great experience Oktoberfest turned out to be quite expensive.

The beer is 11 euros + tip, and burgers and pretzels are 4-8 euros

Phone Replacement – 139 euros.

Regardless, I don’t regret going, Oktoberfest is one of the biggest festivals in the world. However, I can say no one does it better than Mardi Gras in South Louisiana. Germans would have a field day at an LSU tailgate.

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On Sunday to finish the weekend my housemates and I all went to Parc d’Orangerie and had a picnic. Abi made snickerdoodles and I made chicken pasta. We played heads up and got plenty of looks but were enjoying ourselves. Also, the weather was absolutely beautiful, we couldn’t have had a better end to the weekend!

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This week Tatiana had a friend from Russia come, we had a little wine and cheese night and we had caviar……I dont understand the hype, it’s extremely fishy.

Yesterday, I cooked Gumbo and we had dinner with our housemates, and a few other friends. It was a hit and everyone loved it! I don’t think it lived up to my standards but for my first time it was okay! The weather has been getting colder so it’s perfect for some gumbo for the rest of the week!

**I’ve turned everyone into spice lovers because I always bring my tony’s and Louisiana hot sauce….they’ve even started asking for it!

Also, speaking of cooking let me just say how difficult it is when everything is in the metric system. A must if you like to cook is “normal” measuring cups from back home!

Anytime someone tells me the temperature in celsius, no idea, any time someone tells me how many ml…no idea, grams, no clue.

Finally, I brought the PB&J to Europe… it’s not a very common snack here so after a few too many beers for my friends yesterday at our dinner, I made them a PB&J and it was declared the best thing ever.

My laughable moment of the past 10 days was when I was coming home and it was getting dark, I couldn’t remember how to turn my bike light on (I’m pretty sure a piece was stolen). I stopped and sat there fumbling with it and then proceeded to flip it upside down to figure it out on the sidewalk and then decided to just peddle fast to get home before it was too dark. People walking past were quite perplexed why I was fumbling with my bike.

In all, loving my time here and all the new friends I’ve made, and all the meals we share!

 

 

 

 

Je Parle Anglais en France.

Depuis mon enfance, j’ai étudié la langue française.

Je parle français grâce à l’héritage Cajun dans ma région et à l’immersion française dans la ville de Cecilia. C’est un honneur et je suis fière de cette compétence. Cette année je suis venue à Strasbourg en France pour étudier le commerce à l’EM Strasbourg. Je serai ici jusqu’en avril. C’est un rêve d’être ici car je suis fière de pouvoir parler français et maintenant que je suis en France, c’est incroyable.

J’étais motivée de faire une publication en français  parce que je n’ai pas l’occasion de parler français avec mes camarades étrangers qui parlent anglais.

Quand je me suis rendue compte que toutes les personnes autour de moi me parlaient anglais, j’étais un peu déçue. Cependant, il y a toujours des occasions pour moi de parler français par exemple dans les banques, la rue, quand je me déplace, quand je fais mes achats et quand je commande au restaurant.

C’est pour cela que je vais essayer de commencer a écrire des publications en français pour pratiquer et j’espère, améliorer ma grammaire. Mon objectif est d’écrire français pendant toute l’année. Je vais essayer de traduire toutes mes publications.

Après le commencement de mon cours de français, j’espère avoir plus de connaissances qui peuvent parler français.

***Mise à jour: Depuis le début de cette publication j’ai commencé mon cours de français. C’est intéressant parce que je note toujours les mêmes choses. Ma capacité d’écrire en français est moins bonne que celle de parler. J’ai eu une conversation avec Diana (ma coloc du Portugal) hier soir et elle était étonne que mes cours a l’école en français ne se focalisaient pas sur la grammaire. Je l’ai explique que mes cours étaient en français mais je n’ai jamais suivi un cours formel de grammaire française jusqu’a l’université. Elle a dit que pour la plupart des cours des langues étrangères, ils enseignent d’abord  la grammaire puis l’expression orale. Pour moi, c’était le contraire.

***Hier soir, Diana et moi sommes montées jusqu’au sommet de la Cathédrale de Notre Dame à Strasbourg! C’était trop beau!

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C’est un peu frustrant d’être venue en France et de parler seulement en anglais. En même temps je sais que c’est à moi de faire l’effort de parler en français.

Au sujet des Cajuns, j’étais un peu étonnée du nombre important de personnes qui les connaissent. J’ai montré la vidéo sur ma page d’accueil et honnêtement ce n’était pas la réaction que j’aurais prévue. Peut-etre c’est parce que j’aime la Louisiane donc pour moi c’est le top, mais mes colocs m’ont dit que c’est du français paysans (@virgil) (vieux français selon @Sarah) et ils se sont moqués du français cajun. C’était pas pour être méchant. Sarah m’a dit qu’elle ne savait pas qu’il y avait une communauté qui parle français aux États-Unis. Après qu’elle a vu la vidéo elle a même dit que c’est incroyable et que cela était le vrai français (@Virgil) (il n’a pas évolué depuis que les Cajuns ont immigré).

Je vais faire mon exposé dans mon cours de culture et civilisation sur les Cajuns dans la Louisiane. Je pense que je vais comparer les cultures et montrer les choses qu’on a gardées, et celles qui ont changées!

J’aime le français et la culture enracinée en Louisiane ainsi que son influence sur ma vie.

**Collaboration: Sarah Damoun**

Customs

Before heading to Strasbourg I considered myself a pretty adaptable person. I felt more than prepared to dive in to this journey. Now that I’m here I’ve realized I was terribly wrong, but I’m happy about this.

I can remember thinking how I would easily get accustomed to life in France. I imagined I would arrive, have no problem since I spoke the language and “knew” about the customs.

As I’ve mentioned living in a city is new to me. I refer to Lafayette and Baton Rouge as cities, but I’ve never lived in a bustling, walking city. A “city” like in the movies.

Honestly, this has been a little hard for me. I hate not knowing where I’m going, I hate being lost, and I hate that despite these difficulties people just disregard the fact that it seems like you may be having troubles.

I hate the fact that when you’re trying to find your way and look around to ask for help it feel like you’re inconveniencing someone because they have earphones in.

I also hate that I always feel tired before I even leave my house because I know as soon as I step out the door I won’t just be walking right to my car.

However, I am getting accustomed to the walking. I can successfully get home now from the city center and I know how to navigate to where I need to be once I’m on main roads. There are 2 main roads here that bring me to where I would want to be (either city center or home, or the tram stations). “Allée de la Robertsau” or “Avenue de la Forêt-Noire” (my university is on this road).

As for how I’ve been the past few days besides the complaint above, Strasbourg in all has proved to be quite lovely.

Although I complain about city living in these posts, it’s a love hate relationship. In a city, there’s always something to do. Since I’ll be getting my student ID soon I’ll receive lots of discounts for events and entertainment around the area!

Not only the city though, but the location!

It’s my first fall!

The trees are changing colors, there are leaves that blow in the wind; it’s beautiful!

As I had mentioned earlier, I hate thinking about leaving my apartment because it means walking and navigating and thinking, and not knowing how long it’ll be till’ you get where you want because you need to leave room for getting lost in the schedule.

However, this past Sunday my housemates and I headed to the Cathédrale de Strasbourg  and I’m sooooo glad that I went. There was a show going on there called “Le Ballet des Hombres Heureuses” (The Ballet of Happy Men). It was a light show where several projectors illuminated the cathedral at night and it went on for 15 minutes, it was incredible! If you’ve ever been to Disney World and seen the Wishes parade with Cinderella’s castle lit up, it was a little like that but soooooo much better. Here is a youtube video with the exact show I watched.

****Watch this because my pictures came out bad, and this is the coolest thing ever, and I wish you would have been there to see it!

There were old people, young people, couples, and tourists all gathered to watch in the square and when the music began everything went quiet and all you heard was the ooing and ahhhing as the lights were projected on to this magnificent cathedral. I debated staying home because I was watching a movie on Netflix but decided to go because I could do that anytime! Plus, that was the last evening of the show!

I was pretty lucky to have had a chance to see it!

Monday was the beginning of orientation we got introduced to the business school’s staff and a rough run through of what this transition to Europe might be for us.

After Monday’s intro to orientation, they had American students stay a little longer in order to discuss our presentations for the study abroad fair we would all be participating in to promote our universities to European students.

It’s mandatory for them to go one year abroad!

Anyway, the women speaking to us had several of us introduce ourselves and essentially wanted us to brainstorm what we would prepare and the things we would discuss about our school.

Y’all….this woman KEPT coming up to LSU students and we kept giving her answers of things we thought made our school attractive -Football, Mardi Gras, Tailgating, Tigerland, Outdoor Sports, etc.

Well, she came up to me once more, and I said food, and she kept the microphone up to my mouth so I just started blurting out cajun dishes, it was pretty awkward, a kid from Tulane stuck his thumbs up pleased to find a fellow Louisiana local .

At orientation I met a girl from Sweden named Mimie and two girls from Mexico named Karla and Valeria.

We all had lunch together and it was a lovely afternoon.

Yesterday and today have mostly been submitting paperwork and paying fees so we won’t begin classes until next week (the latest I’ve ever started a semester!)

I bought a basket for my bike, and rode it to run some errands. We live right near Parc d’Orangerie which is well known in the area and it has a lovely botanical garden, I can’t wait to spend time here throughout the year!

 

Other than this, we’ve been hanging out with our housemates in the evening, and due to their English education in Europe, they use lots of British English words.

I.E. Rubbish can and Queue.

We discuss our differences a lot, and they constantly point out how much we live up to American standards based off of our preferences, mannerisms, etc.

In Europe a to go box is called a “doggy bag”……I’ll just let you think about that.

We were told asking to take food home was not custom and seen as “cheap”

Furthermore, our Parisian housemate said that it was rude to eat everything in your plate and you had to leave something, so it wasn’t too clean like you’d been starving. I’m not sure how true this is but he was very insistent on this cultural difference. Apparently, this is only custom in Paris. Sarah from Le Mans,France proudly cleaned hers till it was shining!

LOL. Imagine if you did this in Louisiana, I know some mama’s and relatives who would not be too enthused if I didn’t clean my plate! (P.S. Momma, I love most of your cooking 🙂

In addition, I had a paper from Vermillionville with Cajun French words and the Standard French ones that I brought to show my housemates. They thought it was interesting and were amazed at some of the words and how old they were saying that their grandparents used this type of “old French”. They did go on to express how this was uneducated “farmer” French, which honestly stung a little. I look forward to this year and enlightening them as well as what the Cajun Culture is all about! I love something that Mavis says at NUNUs all the time!

“It’s our French”.

As many similarities as there are to French customs, the Cajun Culture has evolved and become it’s own, and I love how distinct and unique it is! As much as I enjoy tracing back the roots of some of the customs, I love to point out the ones we’ve made better!

*If anyone has any resources, or history, or family stories about their French Ancestry, I’d love to share.

Other than this, I’ve managed to mount the stairs and not be winded, and conquered my measurements to not overflow my coffee cup in the morning.

For the first day of orientation I woke up late and Abi burst into my room exclaiming that I needed to get ready and my first thought was I won’t be able to “day person” without coffee…….priorities…..I was able to do makeup and all, but it was a close one.

Other than this, politics is a pretty common topic in conversation, which in America, is usually avoided. So this has been something hard for me to get accustomed to as I’m not really interested in debates, confrontation, or trying to prove to someone else that they’re wrong and I’m right (well, maybe sometimes)…

Regarding this, I’ve been doing a lot of listening, which is good. I’m a big talker. Going out of my comfort zone and just being in the presence of a political conversation is huge for me, even though I don’t chime in that much. There are lots of strong feelings, and lots of different views…..very different than the American one’s that have always surrounded me. I’m being exposed to several different perceptions on global issues, as well as European ones.

I hope this encourages me to WANT to watch the news more often so I can chime in…..however, baby steps.

Lastly, I just want to express how much this 7 hour time difference stinks!

It’s hard not being able to talk to my family whenever I want, or my boyfriend. I didn’t think this would bother me or be as hard of a transition as it is, but when you’re telling someone goodnight and it’s your morning, or there’s no real convenient time to have a conversation, it’s a little frustrating.

I’m sure in time I’ll become more acclimated to all of the changes that have happened since moving here.

I’m currently washing clothes, and just want to let you guys know…..dryers are not a thing here……I’m about to hang up a whole load of laundry on a little rack in my room, and I am NOT AMUSED.

PRO TIP:

Macaroon- coconut meringue pastry

Macron- President of France

Macaron- French Pastry Awesomeness

How Emmanuel Macron plans to change France

 

**just in case you didn’t know

 

 

 

 

This Little Piggy Went to the Market

This morning I woke up and got dressed to go to the Saturday market. It was exactly like in the movies. People rode up on their bicycles. There were people with their kids. There were old people and young people. There was a whole block sectioned off and loads of booths with competitive prices selling all a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, jam, meat, and other goods.

I bought 2 onions, 2 green peppers, a whole stalk of celery, a head of garlic, and a bundle of parsley for 3 euros (equivalent to about $3.60).

 

market 1After returning from the market, I went to my appointment to purchase my bike. I have yet to buy my basket, but that will be soon. Everyone’s bike has a basket here.

It isn’t to look cute either.   People have them on the front and back of their bikes, and you’ll often see them with bags of groceries in both baskets along with a backpack.

I had my little GPS in my pocket, and she talked to me on the way home. It rained a little which wasn’t all that pleasant.  There was no torrential downpour, so I managed to get home mostly dry.

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My housemates and I then all went to Kehl, Germany to go “real” grocery shopping. Germany really is a lot cheaper than France, and they have huge grocery stores with lots of options. I was soooooo happy to see Tabasco on the shelf.

In addition, it’s very common to make drinks with “sirop”, comparable to grenadine. There are different flavors, and you simply add water. You can purchase this at restaurants and bars. I purchased maracuja (passion fruit) flavor; this is my favorite juice in Honduras.

We also ate at the food court in the mall, it was the most familiar thing to home we’ve done. It was a Chinese buffet; we got fountain drinks. It was quite amusing to find out, after hearing of the stereotype, that it’s true: There are no refills, and no iced drinks in France. Abi went and asked the cashier if we could get more, and she looked at us very strange.

Last night when I got home I cooked some red beans and rice! I got this German sausage from the deli with Cayenne Pfeffer (pepper), and it was delicious!!!

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I brought some to Francesca and Sarah. They’ll critique it this evening; home-cooking is always good the day after!

This morning (Sunday), Marie Anne came to do Tatiana’s contract and she tried some Tony Chachere’s because I was eating lunch.

She exclaimed that I need to throw it away because it has way too much salt and is super bad for you.

Her reaction was quite entertaining.

Overall, it’s been a very lazy Sunday. Tomorrow Abi and I begin our orientation week at school.

This evening we plan to go to the church to see the light show. It was explained that they do something similar to in Disney World when they project the lights on Cinderella’s castle.

Fun Fact: Sarah and Francesca have both studied in England, according to them the peace sign in England is like flipping the bird.

The Reason: In the Middle Ages when sword fights were a common practice, knights would throw up “peace signs” or 2 fingers to taunt their opponents to show they hadn’t cut any of their fingers off. There is also another origin often referred to,

In a survey of gestures in Europe in the 1970s, Desmond Morris and his team found that this gesture was almost exclusively found in the British Isles. It is also used in Australia and New Zealand. Folktales of its origins abound, the most popular being that when the English bested the French in The Hundred Years War with their fancy high-tech longbows, the V hand shape of the archers lining up their arrows became a battle gesture. There is no evidence to support this story, and quite a lot of evidence to contradict it, although that doesn’t stop the story being told (Lauren Gawne).

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Little Victory #1

Yesterday ran so much more smoothly. I went out to town to get my phone in the afternoon, and although I did have to wait in line, it went okay. I did have to buy a phone though.

Having a smartphone was imperative for me because I needed to be able to have access to Google Maps in order to navigate my way around, obviously, seeing as how it always ends up we tend to walk for 30 minutes to get anywhere.

I went to this place called FNAC to get a phone, it’s comparable to a Best Buy. There you purchase your product at the designated section and then you bring your receipt to the check out where you pick it up. I thought that was pretty interesting.

In addition, now I understand why people in cities are often times associated with being rude or mean…..it’s because they’re in a bad mood.

If you know me, you know I’m usually an EXTREMELY CHIPPER person, however, when I’ve had to stand in line twice for 3 hours, and been directed to go here, there, and everywhere I started getting a little irritated. Then they have 10 million people in your way and you’re just trying to get to where you need to be. So yeah, I understand you people now….

Anyway, I managed to get a French phone number here, it took forever but it happened. I choose to use the provider, FREE. I got a monthly plan for unlimited talk, text, and data for 19 euros a month! They also offer a plan for 2 euros a month but I wanted unlimited data seeing as that would be what I would be using the most.

On my way back to my apartment I managed to get back somewhat by myself which was super exciting. I passed a bike shop along the way. I had been told that it may be easier to just buy a used bike instead of renting one from this service in Strasbourg called Velhop.

It would have been 180 euros for a security deposit and then another 20 euros a month for a rental fee. I found a bike at a used bike shop called, Le Caveau du Velo d’Occasion.

The phrase, “Velo d’Occassion” means used bike, or secondhand bike. Anyway, I found one for 80 euros! I plan to just sell it before I leave.

I’m going to bring it for a “test drive” this afternoon, and the shop owner is going to make sure it’s a good fit. When I called he asked me for my measurements and everything and told me which ones were available on the website I could pick from, it’s super legit.

All in all, it was my first non-chaotic day.

On the way home, I heard someone yelling at me as I was crossing the street, guess who…..my UBER DRIVER THERAPIST! He asked if everything was okay and if I needed a ride, it was quite amusing to have run in to him. This run-in made Strasbourg start to feel like home, my first time seeing a familiar face.

Once I arrived back home, I even made a sandwich y’all. So I ended up being able to eat two WHOLE MEALS yesterday!

That evening we went to a pub-crawl, or “bar hopping”, it was a social event organized by the ERASMUS organization. Basically, this organization is for European students who are traveling on exchange and it helps them meet other students and participate in activities together. It was pretty neat, we went with Tatiana (Russia), Francesca (Italy), and Sarah (France).

One of the most amusing questions Abi and I get asked in conversation all the time is if cheerleaders are actually real….

***S/O TCH REBELS!!!

In French the term for cheerleader is “Pom Pom Girl”.

All of the girls we met explained to us how the American High School Experience is a dream, and that they’re so jealous that we can be cheerleaders, go to prom, and have homecoming, and sports at school.

None of these things are offered in European schools.

It was pretty funny and we tried not to laugh explaining each time how, yes, cheerleaders, are real.

There were lots of High School Musical references!

Ultimately, it was a great day, and I’m becoming more and more acquainted to my charming new city.

Currently, I’m drinking coffee at my desk about to go out to Saturday Market to get some vegetables for the week.

Momma, I’m attempting to cook red beans and rice for my friends, wish me luck!

If y’all have any suggestions for easy must-try recipes from back home please send em’ over!

 

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The U.S. Consulate in Strasbourg

day 5.1

 

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Laughter is the Best Medicine

Yesterday was a very stressful day. It wasn’t anything in particular. It is just that trying to get acclimated to a new place, that is completely different is stressful.

Let’s talk about how the day started. It started, looking up, then just went barreling downhill.

**Reason why I couldn’t post yesterday.
So yesterday, I was finally able to get some sleep and woke up extremely late. I was well rested and had an appointment at the bank to open up my account—success!
If you’re curious about items you may need to open up a bank account, here is a complete list of the things you need. (Because trying to look stuff up and find information on websites in France is a JOKE people.)

  • Passport
  • Lease Contract or some other proof of residence (utility bill, etc.)
  • Birth Certificate (copy)
  • Proof of Enrollment at your school

In order to do anything here you need a bank account, so I’ve been on standby for getting a phone and renting a bike. Also—as I hope I’ve been able to portray—momma is not about this walking stuff.

After the bank appointment it was the same ole’ no meal routine: starve half the day, try to find a sandwich shop and eat a piece of bread.
Y’all, that’s probably the most frustrating thing. You can’t get a meal just anytime. If you missed the time window, that’s just really unfortunate.
Anyway, once my account was open, Abi and I decided to head to the city center so I could open up a phone service.
Let’s just pause real quick for me to express just how much Apple Maps sucks. Back home in America (in all conversations, we now refer to “back home” as America and each time I say it I always find it amusing, it seems very patriotic and majestic) it works just fine. However, here, it’s another story. You’re trying to walk and look at your phone, and Siri gets confused and turned around every 5 seconds. It’s very difficult to navigate like this when you’re also trying not to step in dog poop, get run over by bicyclists, and pay attention when you cross the street to not get hit by the cars. Even when pedestrians have a green light to cross, the cars don’t stop. Also, when you’re crossing, there is NO WARNING that the light is about to turn red. In the middle of crossing the street, the light will just turn red and you freak out trying to run across because you weren’t prepared for cars to just start coming again.
Anyway, so we’re trying to get to the phone shop, Maps brings us to BFE (sorry mom & dad), and then we get to this abandoned building with socks hanging on the fence and sleeping bags at the entrance and Siri is trying to tell us we’ve arrived. Abi begins to point out how 30 minutes ago she mentioned we weren’t going the right way, but because MAPS is supposed to always be right, I insisted we continue.
Now we’ve been walking, are completely lost, and still haven’t gotten anywhere we need to be and are all the way across the world, AND we’re starting to get irritated with the situation and, in turn, each other.
Well, we started heading back and the frustration is building. After trying to get oriented and walking another 20 minutes or so we’re both so angry and snapping at each other that we end up “cheating” and ordering an Uber.
I say cheating because we’re trying to do as the locals do and get around on foot or via public transportation, but you can only take so many turn-arounds and being lost for so long while walking around aimlessly before someone snaps…so, we called an Uber.
Our Uber driver arrives, and I’ve never been happier to just sit and let someone else drive. We start a conversation, and he asks where we’re heading. We explain how we’re American students trying to set up a phone blah blah blah…
I am still worked up and trying to figure out how to get to the phone place and I curse. He asks what’s wrong and says how he doesn’t speak English, but he knows THAT word.
We break down, and now it’s become a therapy session—with the Uber driver. We start to tell him all the problems we’ve been having, and he’s laughing so hard that he’s almost crying. He starts apologizing because he’s trying to stay professional. We say it’s okay. Our moods are starting to lighten up, and we start laughing, too. It’s contagious.
Now, that we’re feeling better and more comfortable, all of our struggles start pouring out because he seems very sympathetic. So, I end the story explaining how—on top of everything that’s been happening the past 4 DAYS—we haven’t had a meal and have been surviving off of baguettes and cheese!
He starts laughing so hard again, and when he finally composes himself he says he’s going to stop the meter, bring us to the phone place, and help us get somewhere to eat. He then asks if we have money. We tell him it’s very generous but it’s okay, (we’re feeling much more relaxed at this point) and we’ll figure it out. He drops us off, and we start heading to the phone place, FINALLY.
In retrospect, stating that we’ve only been eating baguettes and the fact that he asked if we had money,  I think he thought we were poor which was why he wanted to turn off his meter and wanted to find us somewhere cheap to eat.
Anyway, now we’ve arrived at the phone place.
This place was not like AT&T. It was packed, had two workers, and neither person acknowledged that we had walked in, despite the fact that we were looking at phones.

***I just want to apologize for all the times I’ve shooed away reps wanting to help me because I walked in to this place, ready to hand them some cash for a new phone and service line but that did not happen.

We waited a bit, and then a line started to form. Next thing I know, I hadn’t got in line, and now it’s out the door, maybe 30 people deep.
I start thinking to myself, this guy is jumping around helping people around the store as well as the line, so hopefully he’ll have noticed when I walked in and tend to me shortly…..nope. Then I start to realize that no one in the line is there to open anything; they’re just there to COMPLAIN.
Literally, every person walked up handing their phone to this guy asking how an app worked, or how to do something, or that their internet at home wasn’t working, etc.
I decide to go to the register and ask that guy. Well, I wait behind this lady like 20 minutes, and once I finally get there I say that I just have a quick question. He responds with, “I only take people who have a ticket”.
I swear smoke was coming out of my ears. I walked 30 minutes in the wrong direction, haven’t eaten at all today, and had a breakdown in the back of an Uber to get here. So, I just walk out.
We get dinner (finally), and then head home (in another Uber).
We’re content.

Our 3rd “flatmate” Tatiana arrived yesterday. She’s from Russia. And Francesca’s (our downstairs housemate) roommate, Sarah from France, arrived as well.

We agreed to all meet up and go out together.
Our day ended socializing and laughing at our struggles on a boat on the river. It was a great end to the day!
Now, I’m about to leave my house to try again to get a phone. It’s a new day and different time, and I’ve eaten breakfast and had some coffee.

Check out my new apparatus for making coffee! No more spillage 🤗 (2€)

American Convenience

So today was much more calm than yesterday. However, I “went to sleep” planning to not set an alarm and wake up whenever I wanted.

I “went to sleep” close to 4am, woke up around 8 and decided I needed a little more time. I ended up getting out of bed shortly after.

The jet lag has been REAL. I usually never get jet lag, but I’ll feel okay in the day then mid-afternoon start feeling super exhausted and then be full of energy in the evenings! I’m hoping this evening will be an earlier one than yesterday.

Today I woke up, and made coffee…..it was pathetic! I called my dad yesterday asking how it was possible to do this without a coffee pot. He told me a story of how my grandpa used to use a sock and I started to get really worried of what these next 8 months were going to be like if I was going to be making “sock coffee”. He then suggested to just buy filters and place it over the cup. Well, obviously they filter coffee but not fast enough so I over flowed my filter in my cup. Hot water and coffee grounds were making a mess all over the counter, mind you my “kitchen” is in my room, so any time I cook or handle food, I need to clean up really well, and that would have been horrible to have coffee and coffee grounds everywhere.

Long story short, that was the hardest I ever worked for a cup of coffee.

HOWEVER, it turned out great and wasn’t a bad coffee!

Then I boiled some eggs on my little plug in burner and life was good. I was feeling put together and got inspired to do a little more cleaning. Y’all….this apartment was soooooo dirty, I usually cringe when I see my mom wiping down walls, because who does that? But this place needs to be sterilized, and that it was. I wiped down the walls…twice. Once for the layer of grime and then again to actually clean. It’s amazing how much happier and satisfied you feel once a place is clean. So now things are looking up, not that I was having a bad day, but after the coffee mishap, I was feeling in control again.

Abi and I decided to get dressed and try to open our bank accounts and phone service…that didn’t happen. We’re going back tomorrow with a group from our school.

The times we have  had to interact with people here, everyone becomes terrified because they’re not sure what language to use/speak, and we don’t know the customs here for businesses and services so an exchange usually begins with an awkward stare-off and then slow mumbling in “Franglais”. It’s very frustrating coming somewhere when you’re trying to learn the language and people automatically begin speaking to you in English, when honestly (this is not meant to be offensive) it would be much easier to understand in French, because most English is very broken or with a thick accent.

Anyway, we then decided to venture out to centre-ville, the heart of the city, to explore. We went with our Italian housemate, Francesca!

Being that I’m not from a walking city this is a huge change for me, and Francesca’s version of a short walk away was not the same as mine….we’re going to have to get used to this.

Abi and I still haven’t gotten a great meal schedule down so our meal times are very random. We set out around 2pm looking for food and unfortunately for us, finding a place to eat between the times of around 2-6 in France is nearly impossible except for sandwich shops, which we were needing something a little heartier than that. I can’t go from eating rice and gravy, and chicken à la king, to one sandwich a day, not happening.

Sadly, we had to settle for a sandwich because after trying a few places, no kitchens were open.

Americans are lucky that we can stop to eat pretty much anytime of the day at our convenience.

*Point for America.

Also, options….

Y’all I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in my last post, but I never realized how much of a luxury having options is. There may be 5 versions of 1 item available at the store as opposed to you’re 50 different options of volumizing shampoo back home.

However, not to worry, I can confirm that they do have dry shampoo here, and it’s Batiste (fun fact that’s a brand form the UK, I never knew). That’s all a girl really needs anyway so I was VERY thankful for this discovery.

Also side note, they have Sephora and McDonald’s almost next to each other, I would say walking distance, but I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone, the phrase “walking distance” has been nothing but false hope lately.

When I’m feeling homesick I know where to go.

All in all there are pros and cons.

Pros:

  • I’m in Freaking Europe
  • I’m living the city life
  • The food is bomb

Cons

  • This involves a lot more walking than what I was prepared for
  • Opening Hours here are SOOOOO INCONVENIENT
  • I need more options at the store, the selection is struggling.

City-life is very new to me,though Strasbourg is nothing compared to say, Paris or New York. However it’s still a big change. I accidentally ALWAYS walk in the bike lane, actually wait for the crossing sign to turn green (apparently that’s not necessary according to some people @Abi), and don’t know how I’ll ever get used to walking ALL DAY.

I was worried before of gaining weight on this trip but that won’t be a problem. Between the 4 flights upstairs and having to walk all the time, I should be beach-body ready come Spring!

This evening, Francesca invited us downstairs to her room for Authentic Italian Spaghetti with a ragu (I thought that was just a brand but apparently that’s the word for meat sauce) her mom made for her to bring here.

It was delicious and we had so much fun visiting with her. She expressed how much she liked American culture, and that “America is a dream”. It was very neat to talk about the American high school experience that according to Francesca young Italians envy such as prom, graduation ceremony, riding the school bus, high school athletics, and basically everything we think is completely traditional to find in a high school. It was pretty amazing. She explained how Europeans grow up and perfect their English by watching American TV shows and dreaming about all of the things they see about life here in America.

I look forward to these discussions as I meet more students and begin classes. Furthermore, I can’t wait ’til I can walk a mile in my docs, because so far those boots haven’t proved they’re made for walking (cheesy joke). Seriously though, I’ve been wearing them every day to break them in but tomorrow I may opt for some tennis shoes just to see if I can get in a couple more miles of exploring before I tire out.

A couple candles, pictures on the wall, cup of tea, and blog post later, I’m starting to feel more at home here.

Next thing I’m looking forward to is Saturday Market!

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Day 2

Soooo… this morning I woke up ate a slice of left over Pepperoniwurst Pizza and hopped on a FlixBus to Strasbourg. That sounds like a piece of cake EXCEPT…toting 2 suitcases, a backpack, and purse is NO PIECE OF CAKE. All of the roads are bumpy here and those little wheels have no mercy. People stare at you as you go up the tram steps; it’s miserable. I feel as though by the end of time here I’ll have acquired some VERY impressive muscles. In addition, after taking a train then walking a good ways uphill with all of our luggage, Abi and I finally arrived at the bus station.

Being somewhere you are not familiar with at all means you ask questions -all the time. After toting luggage a ways, you become irritated, at least in my case I do. Then anyone you see you sort of demand an answer to a question in order to keep walking. One of the staff in the Frankfurt airport was very helpful. I’m sure he could see my concern and frustration trying to orient myself on the map I was carrying around to lead us to the bus station. After I asked my question, I took a breath, smiled, and asked how his day was. I think this took him by surprise and we both paused and chuckled and he gladly helped me!

Once at the bus station we waited, our FlixBus arrived a little late (20 minutes) which if you’re in a hurry might be an inconvenience, apparently this is common for FlixBus so people schedule earlier than needed. However for the price, 11 euros, our trip was great! However, there is a huge difference. It’s similar to a Greyhound Bus and when you get picked up the storage doors open and it’s every man for himself trying to secure a spot to stowaway their luggage. Abi and I helped a European girl load her luggage since we were some of the last people loading up and her bags were quite heavy. She exclaimed in English, “The struggle is real”. This was just a very humorous phrase to have heard from a non-American. It made the boiling anger simmer a little because of all the commotion and chaos of the journey getting there and boarding the bus.

So the bus ride was approximately 3h30 but it didn’t feel long between dozing off and just getting a chance to sit and relax and collect our thoughts. Once we arrived to Strasbourg we were a little (JUST a little) refreshed. Our landlord picked us up and she explained she’d be dressed in RED……she’s a very feisty old French woman with a lot of attitude…..a lot. Imagine a no nonsense, I do what I want, (walks to fast) “why can’t you keep up”, type of grandma. That’s her, sassy diva sunglasses and all.

We called asking where she was because we couldn’t find her, and up comes this speed walking woman in PINK…. no wonder.

She parted the crowd of people like she owned the sidewalk and off we went to load our things in her car to get to the apartment, finally!

***Disclaimer this is around 2pm at this point, Abi has not consumed any food or considerate amount of water***

So then the journey up the freaking stairs…4th story, no elevator, all that luggage, you know the deal. Our landlord brought us up and we thought she was gonna die, she explained to us how she was too old and never comes up anymore…we thought we were going to die, so I can only imagine.

Despite the stair situation, (which on the bright side means just living here is a workout, we can look at it as an included gym), we scope out our new place, and with a quick evaluation decide it’ll work. After a few of our own touches it’ll be perfect.

Now the fun/horrible part of the day, after being semi-settled and catching our breath we take an uber to IKEA (today was the first time I had ever gone to an IKEA), we got a few household items and then had our land lord, Marie Anne, pick-us up and bring us grocery shopping.

She exclaimed that the shopping in France is too expensive and it’s way cheaper in Germany, so we took a casual trip to Germany to go grocery shopping.

The prices may have been great but we have no idea what we bought. Despite being a literal 200 ft bridge away (I’m guessing) from France, everything was labeled in German. So we’re running off of barely any food, trying to buy groceries in a German grocery store, and just go off of pictures of what the items we put in the basket could be. I’m sure everyone’s mommas has told them it isn’t good to go shopping on an empty stomache.

Now imagine us bringing all of that, plus our IKEA buys up all the flights of stairs…….

We had to make a stop at a store in France on our way home for a few items that couldn’t be bought at the 1st place then finally made our way home. At this point Abi and I are laughing at every little inconvenience, the day had us beat, we were on the verge of tears, and going insane, and sore feet, and the hunger in our stomaches.

****Disclaimer: It’s now around 6pm, Abi has finally consumed some food. She downed a hot carton of orange juice, and some German cookies she bought in the snack aisle.

We get home and get to work prepping and setting our rooms up.

Fast forward to 12am and the day is finally done. My room is all set up, everything has been wiped down, sterilized, and all of my dishes have been washed in preparation for their first use (shoutout to my Momma for all that training).

I’m pooped, but satisfied with my day! I feel at home and a lot more comfortable now that I’m unpacked.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with doing blogs everyday once school starts for lack of interesting content and time, since unfortunately, I’ll actually have to study but I plan to keep it updated! I’m excited for what’s to come.

Random Occurrences/ Observances of the Day:

The pillows here are squares……we take our rectangular pillows for granted.

At 2am this morning I had woken up and gauged what time it could possibly be by how hungry I was, I have a super power.

The jetlag was trying to get me….

Apparently, bed sheets here only consist of a fitted sheet and a duvet…..there is no sheet to cover yourself with; we got strange looks asking for these in IKEA.

Last but not least, I need to stress the no A/C situation…..we have a great view in our picturesque city, so it’s not horrible to keep your windows open, but I asked Marie Anne about taking a fan out of the storage room to use and she gave me a confused look and said, “I wouldn’t need it”….homegirl, no. This is a MUST. I’m all for immersing myself in the customs of another place but I need to take baby steps, I just got everything taken away all at once, ya girl needs some air!

It’s always awkward trying to interact with people until you figure out you can speak a common language, so meeting people and asking questions usually starts off with awkward hand motions and really baby sentences.

That’s all I got!

I’m looking forward to learning my way around!

Tomorrow we’re gonna try and conquer setting up a Bank Account and a phone service.

-C

home

This is me in front of my entrance to my new home here in Strasbourg!

 

 

 

 

 

Applying for A Long Stay Student Visa: France

So applying for my student visa to study abroad this year seemed like the longest process ever! After completing the application with the LSU’s Study Abroad Portal you must wait….

I became extremely anxious because I thought I was cutting it extremely close by not even beginning this process until the summer, but I promise it will be okay. They don’t even let you schedule way in advance so it’s not a big deal.

So once you have your official letter of acceptance for the university in France (most likely an email), you can begin your campus France application which is the first step before you can proceed to making a consulate appointment. Now this part was tricky, it’s not actually at the Campus France website, however you can find a link there, or here. In addition, if you go to this link it provides detailed instructions with photos on how to complete the process for the whole Etudes France application. In addition you have to pay the processing fee there. You can do it online or send a money order. There are two options the regular 3 week and the expedited one. Regular costs $180, expedited is $330. Once you pay you have to print out your application and physically mail it to the Campus France office.

 

Detailed instructions, and address, and payment process can be found here for regular, or here for expedited.  **For payment you need your Campus France ID # if completing online, when you are logged in that can be found in the top right corner of the page.

Ex. US17-XXXXX

I have attached a screenshot of the link to the regular Etudes France application process guide with all the steps, all links in the screenshot are included in the text above. To access this page directly you can click here.

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 2.47.53 PM

So now once you’ve completed the Campus France application, paid and mailed it in, you wait, again…

I opted the regular route and it worked out fine, I received my “attestation”, no problem,  which was just the email saying that I was approved. This is the document the Consulate wants you to bring when you go to the appointment, so you literally just print out the email. Your Campus France ID # won’t be in the body of the email (which originally had me freaked out) it’s in the subject header.

Yayyy, so we’ve gotten this far, I would assume this whole process has taken a month by now.

Now in your “attestation” email, there was a link to the consulate that will be servicing you, in the case of students from Louisiana that is in Houston.

777 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 600
Houston, Texas 77056

So now you can click the link in the email sent and it will bring you to the page where you schedule your appointment. The beginning of August fills up quickly! So if you’re nervous like me I risked it and made my appointment prior to receiving my campus France approval however, it isn’t suggested you do this because they don’t want you scheduling if you don’t even have all your paper work yet. My appointment was August 10, and I got my passport like 5 days later (it’s suggested it’ll take 2 weeks), the appointment itself was just submitting all my paperwork the whole thing took 12 minutes (my mom timed it).

You must bring an envelope which they are strict in the document section stating there are all these specific requirements of what it can and can’t, be but we bought it the morning of at the UPS store, and they knew exactly what to do. **This is for if you don’t plan to pick it up in Houston and have it mailed to you, it cost around $32. The requirements state to not have it addressed from the consulate office and instead from you to you but apparently in postal requirements it can’t be done, but the people at UPS (in Houston near the consulate) know the whole deal and reassured me that the envelope I needed was the one they were providing me (it was).

So now we’re waiting for the day of the appointment, you have lots of documents to prepare.

Here is the link to the Houston Consulate with all the documents required and a PDF with the list of other documents you need to bring from home. At the bottom of the page there is quick access to the booking page for your appointment.

https://houston.consulfrance.org/spip.php?article1068

I’ll do a quick run through here. With the same requirements document posted to the link above.

  • Printed Copy of “Attestation” email from Campus France, entitled “Your Campus France file has been processed”
  • Proof of Residency : driver’s liscense, state ID, or temporary DMV license/ID, university ID, or lease agreement with full name
  • Original Passport + 1 copy of the identity page, has minimum of 2 blank pages left to affix the visa, must be valid 3 months after return to the USA
    • IF YOU ARE NOT A US CITIZEN – PROOF OF RESIDENCY IN THE USA            A valid US permanent residence GREEN CARD + ONE COPY.                         or a valid work or student U.S. visa + ONE COPY
with valid I-20 if F1 visa or J1 DS document + ONE COPY                                                                                B1-B2 visa holders must apply in their country of residence                            or a valid Advance Parole document + ONE COPY
  • Application Form, filled out completely and signed
  • Passport Size Photograph (CVS or Walgreens approx. $13) 2×2”. No older than 6 months, white background, in color, paste with double sided on top right of application and paper clip the 2nd photo to the application
  • VISA FEE, exact cash or credit card, visa/mastercard only. NO CHECKS.

 

Type of Visa EUROS
Visa de transit aéroportuaire/ Airport Transit Visa (A) 60
Visa Schengen: visa de court séjour/ Short Stay Visa © 60
Visa Schengen (cas particuliers / special cases)

children between the age of 6 and 12 years old

citizens of Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine

35
Visa de long séjour/ Long Stay Visa (D) 99
Visa étudiant/ Student Visa (D) – E-mail from CampusFrance informing enrollment is complete must be provided with the application form 50
Visa pour Départment d’Outre-Mer/ Visa for French Overseas Department (*) 60
Visa pour territoire d’Outre-Mer/Visa for French Overseas Territories (**) 9

***The amount listed is in Euros and you pay in dollars, I was charged $58 to my credit card.

  • Official Letter of Enrollment in a School in France + ONE COPY
    • This was most likely emailed to you so you can just print it out: needs your full name, institutional letterhead, specify beginning and end dates, include full contact info for the individual issuing the offer or acknowledgement, and address of institution, signed and stamped.
  • Proof of Financial Means you must show that you will have access to at least $700 per month, I printed all financial aid documents, as well as most recent bank statement, and did the calculation on a separate sheet. ***See official PDF document for more in depth description
  • Proof of Departure or Airline Reservation: this is your plane ticket to France/Europe, starting date of visa cannot be earlier than 3 weeks before the starting date on your official letter of enrollment
  • OFII Residence Form : upper part filled out only + One Copy : needed for whole year stay
  • Prepaid Envelope UPS $32, can also be picked up at consulate
  • Medical Insurance : only required for students aged over 28, or 32 for PhD
  • Make an Appointment: at least 2 weeks before departure

Finally here is an attachment of a sample VISA Application with the responses requested, some questions were confusing and I wasn’t entirely sure what they were asking for.

Question-Specific Instructions:

Question 2: Only fill out this section if you have changed your last name (i.e. maiden name, alias, etc.)

Question 4: Be sure to enter your date of birth in European format: Day/Month/Year

Question 5: Enter the city and state where you were born

Question 7: Fill in the nationality that is indicated on your passport/travel document

Question 11: Fill in your Social Security Number; I wrote N/A and it was fine.

Question 12: Choose the type of travel document you will be using abroad. For most, this travel document would be an “ORDINARY PASSPORT” (navy blue American passport).

Question 13: note your passport number

Question 14: Indicate the day, month, and year that your passport/travel document was issued to you.

Question 15: Indicate the expiration date of your passport/travel document

Question 16: Indicate the agency that issued your passport/travel document.

This is listed under “Authority”

Question 20: This question is for students who hold a residence permit for the United States. Please indicate your legal residence number, the day, month, and year it was issued, and the expiration date. Please leave this BLANK if it does not apply to you.

Question 21: Note that you are a “STUDENT”

Question 22: Note your university here. Be sure to include the full address. (LSU Address), I used the office of admissions contact info.

Question 23: Check the box for “STUDIES”

Question 24: Host Institution Address (reference your acceptance letter)

Question 26: Provide the date that you will be entering France or other Schenegen country

Question 27: Select the box that applies to your intended duration of stay in France (including possible program extensions, even if they are not confirmed).

Question 28: If you will be staying with members of your family in France, enter their information here.

Question 29: Enter your means of financial support in France. This can be financial aid, scholarships, parents, personal savings, etc. You will need to show proof that you will have adequate means of financial support while abroad. ***I printed financial aid documents on my LSU and did the calculations myself per month with the total amount to show that it was greater than the minimum of $700

Question 30: If you will be supported financially by someone while you are in France, enter their information here.

Question 32: If you have ever lived in France for more than three consecutive months, enter the appropriate information here.

Be sure to enter the city, state, country, and date where you signed your visa application form. Don’t forget to sign your application form!

Download Sample PDF Visa Application

 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or comment below!

sources:

http://eap.ucop.edu/Documents/_forms/1213/France/common/visa_app_instruct_1213.pdf