The first week was rather exhausting, trying to figure out where everything was and where I was within the city. During our school's orientation programming, we had a chance to tour the city. This helped enormously to better understand my surroundings. During our tour we came round a corner, and BAM! we were hit with this astonishing view of the Vieux Port (the Old Port). This moment really helped me get a feel for how awesome this location really is. There is an immense amount of history here and I feel it all around me! All the way from the time of the Greeks to this day now, people have been exchanging culture and goods in this great city.
My biggest challenge now is taking advantage of all that is around me! There is so much to explore and do, and I only have one semester here! Things on my to do list: visit the Calanques, tour the countryside, and try as many new experiences as possible.
Speaking French 24/7 is very wearing. I am excited for my French skills to become much better by the end of the program, but it is a challenge to focus on my French all day every day. We, the students at AUCP, sign a contract upon arrival obligating us to speak French and no English at school, at home (with the host family), and all around the city. Thankfully I have an awesome language partner with whom I get to practice some English with.
Feeling fully challenged,
Note: Originally written September 10, 2011