Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

RSS Feed for This PostCurrent Article

Learning about French culture in Angers

This entry is in response to the 3rd question posed by the office of international education:
What have you done to learn about your host-country’s culture? What parts of the culture are you learning about? What do you feel you are missing? What can you do to explore the parts you feel you are missing?
What parts of the host culture do you enjoy the most? What are the least enjoyable parts? Discuss why you think you dislike these aspects of the culture?
Before arriving in Angers, I must admit that I was skeptical of the wealth of cultural activities that I would find. However, my skepticism was unwarranted. Within the first month here in Angers I was able to attend an annual festival devoted to different aspects of life in France—this year, the theme was “life in the south of France.” There was yet another weekend during which all of the museums, monuments and chateaux of France were open and free for the public to visit. Outside of these experiences, our international university has taken us on several excursions to sites and cities within our region of France–Pays de la Loire. Furthermore, I have spent time talking with my host mother and her friends about life in France.
Through these festivals and excursions I have learned a lot about the history of France, especially as it relates to Pays de la Loire. I also believe that I am now better informed about the unique qualities specific to each region of France.
While I do feel that I have learned about this region of France and the heritage of the people who live here, I feel that I have been unable to meet and make a connection with French people my age. Since we take classes with other foreign students, it is difficult to meet many French students. Moreover, the majority of the French students at the university return to their parents’ houses every weekend. In order to try to meet more French students, I try to talk with our international program assistants, who are French students, as much as possible.
One part of living in France that I really enjoy is the café culture. In France, when people take a coffee brake they sit down with friends or business partners and drink their coffee together; it is rare to see people in Angers with “to-go” cups. It is really fun to find new cafés and explore new parts of town by frequenting different cafés.
I find that one of the least enjoyable parts of the French culture is “les grèves” or the strikes. Even though the grèves have not impacted me directly, during my time in France, they have disrupted the rhythm of life throughout the country. There are many students who need to take the public bus to school, and during a grève the buses, trains and metro systems do not run very frequently. The grèves also disrupt the postal service and the news broadcasts.
I have been living in Angers for a little over a month and a half and I feel that I have only barely scratched the surface of the culture specific to this region.

Trackback URL

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.