Annika's Typical Day in Rennes

Annika J. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Lakeside School in Washington.

One of my favorite parts of SYA so far has been how I get to spend my time. Every day here is completely different; whether it be randomly walking to school for fun or trying out a new cafe, my life here is full of adventures. But I’ve started to make my own routine, so here’s a sample day in my life here in Rennes - come along with me!


One of my favorite things about the school days here is that they start later than most U.S. schools, so I get about an extra hour of sleep. As soon as I wake up, I get ready for my much-anticipated school day. Once I have my backpack packed and I’m all dressed, I sit down at the kitchen table with my host mom for a petit dejeuner. I usually have some French brand of cereal while my host mom has a traditional baguette à la confiture. Then I make the short walk to my metro station while watching the cafe baristas set up tables on the sidewalks. I march down the steps into the metro station. Here in Rennes, public transportation is very common, useful, and especially helpful for the environment. 


Then it’s time for class! In the morning, I have my core classes which are math, French, and English. Math classes here share an online format with the other SYA campuses so that when we have questions, teachers and even students from either France, Italy, or Spain can help out. In French class, we learn grammar tools needed to succeed as a student living in France; we study conjugations, vocabulary, and pronunciation so that we can better fit into our new world. Next, English class is focused on the experiences of writers abroad, hence we discuss and make connections between their stories and our own. Our discussions of identity in a global context help me to better understand my role as an American student in France. 


Finally time for lunch! As SYA France doesn’t have its own cafeteria, we eat with local French high school students at the lycée across the street from the school. I was truly shocked to discover how amazing the cafeteria food is - each day there is some type of dessert, yogurt, a variety of salads, bread, and a hearty main course with alternatives for vegetarian and vegan students. At lunch, we are given the chance to engage with real French high schoolers or to talk amongst ourselves about our plentiful new experiences. 


After feeling stuffed from my 5-star lunch, I walk back to school for round two of classes. In the afternoon, my schedule is complete with my elective courses. This year I chose to take both Political Science and Environmental Science, two classes that I have come to love already. In Political Science we are learning about Rennes’ region, Bretagne, which has a unique culture compared to many other areas in France. In Environmental Science I learn about the temperate climate of Bretagne and the detailed composition of Earth’s layers. 


Yes, 15h10 - for those who aren’t yet familiar with 24-hour time, it might be good to learn it before coming abroad. Now that my academic classes are over, I go to politics club to discuss (in French, of course) world issues and problems pertaining to France. Don’t worry if politics isn’t your thing! The school offers several other clubs like Yearbook and Science Club in addition to our extracurricular activities. 


After a packed day, I like to decompress by grabbing a coffee from a cafe with a friend. Luckily, Rennes is sprinkled with cute cafes that are perfect for a mid-day boost or for studying. My favorite is latté aromatisé with a pain au chocolat on the side. 


It’s finally time for me to come home. As soon as I step into my apartment, I’m greeted by my host mom who tells me about her day and I tell her about mine. Together we make a delicious dinner of galettes, a savory crepe with ham, cheese, and an egg, traditional to Bretagne. 


Now that dinner is over, I get started on my homework. I honestly don’t mind doing my homework here because with each assignment I make meaningful growth in regards to my French skills and to my understanding of my new community. While there is a good amount of homework each day, it doesn’t feel consuming here and I value the importance of school work. 


Because my days are so packed, I can’t stay awake any longer. As soon as my head hits my pillow, I doze off into a deep sleep, dreaming about the pains aux chocolats I’ll be having the next afternoon.

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