A Guide to Surviving Winter

Annika M. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Hanover High School in New Hampshire.


Coming from New Hampshire, I am accustomed to the cold, the snow, and the winter that seems to drag on for forever. What I’m not accustomed to, though, is a winter without all these elements: no white Christmas, no snow boots, no snow days, and the list goes on. Rennes is wonderful during the holiday season, but after all the lights are taken down and the Christmas markets disassembled, a quiet lull seems to fall over the city. Suddenly it’s back to school, back to classes, back to homework, back to routine. This readjustment period can be hard, and can oftentimes feel rather laborious. Heading into this final month of winter, though, I think I’ve finally figured it all out, so I thought I’d share. 

A Guide to Surviving (and maybe even enjoying) Winter:

  1. Enjoy the sun, even if it only appears for a few minutes every day

  2. Listen to music, especially music of your host country (French rap always gives me something to laugh about)

  3. Try new restaurants (you’d be surprised by how many pizza places there are in Rennes)

  4. Talk with your host family, they often have the best tricks for surviving the dreary and rainy weather

  5. Focus on something other than school (of course still keep up with work but don’t let homework overtake your life)

  6. Walk everywhere, the best way to see the city is on foot

  7. Set challenges for yourself, like sitting with the French kids during lunch 

  8. Read books in your host language, even if it means taking a break from your English reading homework

  9. Take advantage of the local parks (they have the prettiest scenery and the best people watching)

  10. Say yes to anything new (I never thought bowling could be so fun!)

So there it is! My top 10 things to do to survive winter in Rennes. January has been the hardest month to get through so far, with the holidays ending quickly and schoolwork picking up again. But this month has also given me a lot of time to reflect. I’ve realized that we are more than half-way done with the year, and the end is going to come a lot sooner than I expected. That being said, I’ve reminded myself profitez-bien for the rest of the year. In other words, to take advantage of every opportunity that I have while still in France. The winter may drag on for another month, but I still have a lot to look forward to!

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