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Living like a Local

One of the things that I wanted when I decided to study in France was a routine. I wanted this to be my second home, but there are so many small details that I didn't think about before coming here. Here are some tips that could help you in your travels:

Getting Around

Although getting lost can be fun sometimes, when I have an appointment, I like to get there on time (but that’s not always the case for the French). So with the wonderful help of Google maps, even the tiniest of streets here are named (thank you, technology!). Though, I do appreciate the old way of living without technology. If you're up for it, try using a physical map!

 You will be walking..A LOT...make sure
you bring shoes that support your feet!

Public Transportation

Learn it and master it. I’m from Michigan so I drive everywhere I need to go. When it came to learning the bus routes, metro-stops and trams, it is pretty new to me. Even on campus at school, I would avoid using the bus as much as possible because I’m known for getting on the wrong bus and going in the opposite direction. After being here for a while, I do have to say that I feel much more confident about getting around the city. I also have to thank all the wonderful bus drivers and strangers that I have asked to confirm if I was going in the correct direction.

 Get to know the center areas to your location.

Join a Community Group

I’ll be checking out a nearby Senegalese dance class in the coming week. I’m looking forward to the high energy and West African rhythms! Plus, it’s a great way to get to know people in the community by doing something that I love. Maybe there’s a religious service you want to attend or a sports team you can join. Whatever could be of interest to you is a Google search away. Making friends with locals who share similar interests is a great way to improve your language and make friends. Don’t over-think it and discourage yourself from being a part of something enjoyable. You’ll thank yourself later.

 Check out the cool cafe environments.
You'll never know who you could meet there!

Trust yourself

It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, whether you are thinking about looking like a fool, finding the group of people you want to be around, and perhaps even your safety. However, you have to let yourself explore (maybe not every day--there are not enough hours), but talk to people, go for walks, and log off Netflix and Youtube. The world awaits you!

 Enjoy the views of the city you're in!

Bonus Tip: Song Game

I  went back to my middle school days when I liked to write down the lyrics to songs I wanted to learn. Since I am learning French, I decided to maximize my learning by improving my oral comprehension (and learn the lyrics to really cool songs). After attempting to write down each line of the song, I go back and see how well I understood the song. I’ll be honest, I’m not that great, but it is improving my comprehension so I wanted to share what has helped me. You should try it!

 One of the best feeling is having discovered the best alternative routes to go to your destination.

Eberechi O. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is currently a senior studying International Studies at University of Michigan.
Eberechi Ogbuaku is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Aix-en-Provence, France, and is currently studying at University of Michigan.
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