A Travellerspoint blog

The 6 B's

In honor of the 6 B's presentations this past weekend, I thought I'd post how I have been putting them to use. The 6 B's are Rotary's alternative to the 4 D's which are no drinking, driving, dating, or drugs. Unfortunately, just knowing what not to do isn't enough for a successful exchange. These examples are specific to my exchange, but if anyone from Rotary happens to read this, I hope you find it helpful!

Be first: varies from place to place, but being the first to talk is often necessary. If you're lucky, people will come right up and introduce themselves. Some people, however, will stare from a distance until A) they determine they like you or B) you approach them first. Even if you trip over your words it's great practice and people will receive you well. Also, I've learned how to ask "what are you doing this weekend" and "can I come?" When you respond "yes" to questions you will get more "yes"s to your questions as well. I was afraid I had too much English in my schedule so I asked my history in English teacher if I could do my presentations/tests in French. I don't think I've ever been more afraid to speak in public than presenting my views on globalization in French in front of 30 native French speakers (without notes I might add). Definitely worth it to see my language improvement.

Be curious: ASK WHAT COMES TO MIND. I told my host parents I was curious as to why they set the table with plates then would carry the plates back to the kitchen to put food on them. My host mom responded with a huge hug and yelled "She is curious!" The reason is because they like the table to look nice. Your questions reflect what is different in your country and your family/friends want to hear those kinds of things! Cultural differences are great icebreakers.

Be on purpose: everything you do, do it entirely. My focus right now is language so I watch everything in French, read in French, copy words out of a dictionary, etc. It's especially hard for english speaking students because it feels like everyone else speaks english too. It would be easy to get by without speaking your new language but you need to try not to. Can't think of any more specific things for this.

Be grateful: say thank you thank you thank you! I often think of how much my sponsor, host club, friends, and family do for me. My host mom gets me something for my blazer at each place we go to. My club helped pay for euro tour. My French club paid for me to go to Disney. My friends will give me French exercises and edit my papers. My friend Matti sent me a great care package. My mom and dad are there when I need them and let me have this amazing experience in the first place. Don't forget these things. You can be grateful by buying gifts, writing letters/emails, just tell them you're grateful somehow! I saw a previous exchange student that would send printed out pictures with letters written on them back to his host families and exchange friends. Simple but so meaningful.

Be of service: this doesn't have to be big! I notice at events the rotary students are the first to offer to set up/clean up/anything to help. My club doesn't have service projects but I have heard some of the other 6690 students do. I try to be of service to my host family and in school. I have 3 classes that include english where I will help the teacher (don't try to overstep though many english teachers don't like feeling that they're not the best at the language and will be mean/act like American English is inferior to British English) I think I've edited more essays already than all of last year.

Be here now: I'm in a foreign country! A year can feel so long but also so short in retrospect. I don't want to regret spending all my time in France thinking about the U.S. When I find my heart back in the U.S. I try to find something to do here. Go into town, meet a friend for coffee or shopping, or just take a walk to enjoy the new surroundings.

Planning on editing this post as I learn more/get some examples, so check back in!

Posted by rachelkronk 09:11 Archived in France Comments (6)

French Fashion and Food

or at least what I know of it

Hello all! This is going to be a rather short post. I find the quality of French school food to be interesting so I took pictures of my lunch for a week.
Monday- Mushroom salad, pasta with sausage, grapes, and chocolate pudding
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Tuesday- Potato salad (ham, tomato, olives), rice with beef, grapes, bread, and pudding
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Wednesday-Class ends at 11:30 so I eat at home.
Thursday- Tomato salad with beef, chicken with fries, spiced cheese with bread, chocolate mousse
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Friday- Fish and potatoes, pineapple, bread, chocolate pudding
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Here are the fashion trends I have noticed:
Converse or adidas tennis shoes
Black boots
HUGE scarves (basically a blanket around your neck)
Dark blue, black, or maroon pants
Leather jacket is a must
There you have it. You can now dress like you're from Normandy :)

Posted by rachelkronk 08:39 Comments (2)

Paris/Cherbourg

(English version below with pictures)

Deux semaines de vacances tous les sept semaines est certainement une idée extraordinaire. vacances commence Vendredi et là-bas est une fête sur la place principale de Caen. Je deviner ce que presque chaque personne à Caen 14-24 ans était là. Le dimanche je suis parti pour la France avec ma mère et le frère d'accueil. Nous sommes arrivés vers 10 heures au Louvre (en prenant le métro). La visite a été la plupart du temps à travers l'art italien / français. Bien sûr, nous avons également vu la Joconde.

Après le Louvre, nous avons pris un tour de bateau qui va vers les principaux monuments (vous pouvez monter et descendre à votre guise pour une journée). Nous sommes descendus à l'arrêt Notre-Dame, a obtenu un peu de glacée, et a visité l'intérieur de l'église.

Fini le jour avec quelques vues de bateau de la Tour Eiffel et Statue de la Liberté!

Jour 2

 "Picasso Mania": visite audio

L'Opéra: visite audio

Galeries Lafayette: je ne pouvais pas acheter une seule chose dans le centre commercial, mais il était beau!

Jour 3

La tour Eiffel!!!

Nous avons eu quelques problèmes avec la sécurité d'un côté... Le gardien de sécurité a pris mon drapeau américain sur le sac de ma mère d'accueil, l'ouvrit, et lui avons dit que nous ne pouvions pas prendre. Il nous a dit vers le jeter à la poubelle si nous nous éloignions. Nous sommes allés à un ascenseur différent et eu aucun problème.

Nous sommes rentrés à Caen ce soir-là et a été repris par la famille de Anthony (le Canadien). Je me suis rendu Cherbourg à partir du jeudi au dimanche. Nous avons vu un aquarium, sous-marin nucléaire, le port où le Titanic a cessé, et un musée Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Je suis désolé pour la traduction horrible. Je voulais essayer haha

English

Two week vacation every seven weeks is definitely an amazing idea. On the Friday that begins vacation there is a huge party in the main square of Caen. I would have to guess that nearly every person in Caen age 14-24 was there. On Sunday I left for France with my host mom and brother. We arrived around 10 o'clock at the Louvre (after taking the metro). The visit was through mostly Italian/French art. Of course we also saw the Mona Lisa.
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After the Louvre, we took a boat tour that goes to the major monuments (you can get on and off as you please for a day). We got off at the Notre Dame stop, got some ice cream, and visited the inside of the church.
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Finished the day with some boat views of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty!
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Day 2

"Picasso Mania":audio tour
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The Opera: audio tour
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Lafayette Galeries: I could not afford a single thing in the mall, but it was beautiful!
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Day 3

Eiffel Tower!!!

We had some issues with security on one side... The security guard took my American flag out of my host mom's purse, opened it, and told her that we could not take it up. He directed us to throw it in the trash so we walked away. We went to a different elevator and had no problems.
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Got back to Caen that night and was picked up by Anthony's family (the Canadian). I visited Cherbourg from Thursday-Sunday. We saw an aquarium, nuclear submarine, the port where the Titanic stopped, and a WWII museum.
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Posted by rachelkronk 12:14 Archived in France Tagged paris notre_dame Comments (1)

Juno Beach/Mont St Michel

semi-overcast

Last weekend two of the other exchange students stayed at my house so that we could go to Juno Beach. Julianna arrived on Friday night and Anthony met us at the beach. We took a guided tour with Anthony's host parents, walked through the museum, and of course got pins for our blazers. It was interesting to see the French viewpoint of World War II.
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That afternoon we walked around Caen with Louis (my host brother) and Paul (Anthony's host brother). We had coffee on a roof inside the Caen castle that overlooks Caen. Then, Julianna and I went shopping for make up and purses while the boys waited outside. Then we went to another restaurant and I had a coca-cola this time. On our way back to the bus stop, a person with a camera and a person with a microphone stopped Julianna and I and began speaking incredibly fast french. Paul told them that we were American and they exclaimed, "Ah! Do you know Celine *muttered noise*" I told them no, and continued walking. Keep your eyes peeled for that embarrassing video on the internet...

This weekend my district and 7(?) others all met at Mont St Michel. Thankfully, it is located in my district and I only had to drive an hour and a half as opposed to the 11 hour trip of the southern-most district. We arrived at lunch time Saturday, had a picnic, and got to know the other 200 some students. I got to meet Americans from Michigan, Oregon, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, and Texas. After lunch we walked from the hotel to the base of the island where we had an exchange-student flashmob to Uptown Funk. Then we started the walk around the island. It was like walking through clay and there were also a few river crossings that made me realize that jeans were a bad idea. There were also jellyfish, and an area where if you jump on the mud-you bounce, but if you don't move-you sink
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Once back to the hotel, we washed off, dressed up and headed to the bridge for pictures. Apparently our district was one of the only ones to say to dress fancifully. Ah well I went all out, lipstick and all. I got many compliments from rotarians on my blazer (I sewed the lids from cheese boxes on the back) We then went to a restaurant for dinner which was followed by a HUGE party. There were strobe lights, a million colors, and a fog machine. The music was by request so I knew 1 in about 5 songs, but it was still absolutely amazing! Each time a song came on that one group knew they would teach the dance to some of the others. This lasted until about 2 am. The next morning we took the bus (thank goodness) to Mont St Michel. I climbed so many stairs today there is no way I'll be able to feel my legs tomorrow. We climbed to the top for the view, did some shopping, then got coffee with this view:
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Then we went into the church:
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Absolutely incredible past couple of weeks! Paris next week for vacation!!

Posted by rachelkronk 11:09 Archived in France Comments (4)

Stories part 2

Rotarian: What country are you from?
Me: The United States (in French of course)
Rotarian: No no what country?
Me: The United States
(long silence)
Me: I'm from Ohio
Rotarian: That's it!

I have been in gym class for 3 weeks now, and today the teacher found out that I am American. He would always ask me questions and I would just have a blank stare. Until today he thought I was just stupid.

When I am on a completely full tram and people are trying to get on: "Just wait for the next one. GEEZ. It's FULL."
When I need to get on a completely full tram: "Ok c'mon people there's enough space for one more person. I need to take this tram."

I went to the nurse to drop off the french protocol and my medicine. This was during a break that was 15 minutes between classes. She refused to let me leave and had me sit there for half an hour while she typed, printed, and copied different things. Finally she wrote me a pass and I went back to class. Unfortunately classes switch rooms sometimes; I kept knocking, but no one answered. So my first time ever cutting class was spent standing outside of the classroom freaking out.

My natural response when someone says "salut" or "bonjour" to me is to say the same thing back. I walked into a store and a woman said "bienvenue".... I responded with "bienvenue"

I zone out entirely during philosophy class because it is just impossible for me to comprehend at this point. However, I try to make eye contact, take occasional notes, and act like I am listening. Today my teacher asked me a question because a phrase in the book was in English. It took the entire class staring at me for 5-10 seconds for me to realize I had been called on.

  • walks into store* *looks at price tag* "£499" *walks out of store*

Apparently it is customary for men to allow women the view of the restaurant while they look towards the wall. I now notice this whenever I look into a restaurant. So dear people currently in the US- is it the same? I have never noticed it before.

Clothing has almost entirely English writing so here's a few of my favorites:
"Born in the USA" (complete with eagle and fringe)
"I speak English, French is better"
"New York City Girl"
"Au revoir New York/ Hello Paris!"

Posted by rachelkronk 09:32 Comments (0)

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