Georgia N. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from The Lovett School in Georgia.
My days in Rennes start early—earlier than they should. Mornings have always been my favorite time of day, and so I usually give myself time to enjoy them. It’s still dark out, save a single streetlamp just across the street that I’ve come to know very well, and the world is quiet and still. I prepare for the day, make an espresso and a slice of brioche with that Bretagne-style salty butter, and head out the door to catch my bus.
The school day starts and ends later here than at home, something I’m still getting used to but am coming to prefer. I circle through my classes—usually English, math, and French in the morning—before heading to the local high school for lunch. The meals there are pretty impressive, but with all the walking I do, they feel well-earned; typically, there is some assortment of a hot dish, sides, salad, dessert, and (of course) unlimited bread on offer. The local students filter in as we eat, providing a prime opportunity to people-watch; the French are all well dressed, but you can find people of every aesthetic. I admire their commitment to fashion, which sometimes goes so far that girls will carry their schoolbooks in purses instead of backpacks just to look chic. Impractical, perhaps, but stylish, nonetheless.
Yes—you read that right. The 24-hour clock is something I am also still warming up to. At this time, we head back to SYA and finish the rest of our courses. Though not everyone’s schedule is the same, I elected to take French literature, environmental science, and politics, all three of which I wholeheartedly enjoy. Though they are taught in French, it isn’t too difficult to follow, and it’s refreshing how applicable I find all my classes to be. In politics, we discuss everything from current events to French government to history--all of which aid me in everyday conversation. In science, we look at local species and current environmental concerns, and I can thank literature for half of my French vocabulary.
Though class ends earlier, this is usually the time when I get home. On the bus ride, I listen to music, read, or just look out the window; this commute has come to be something I look forward to as a time to just relax. Walking into my house, I’m greeted by my three host brothers, dad, and mom, and we chat for a bit before going our separate ways. The host family was the aspect of SYA for which I was most afraid, but they are now undoubtably my favorite part. I am so grateful for my family here, and I can’t imagine how much I’d miss out on by not having them around.
After finishing most of my work, it’s dinner time. The whole family eats together, and there is always a course for dessert. We talk about everything from our day to politics to celebrities; I can credit this time for most of my improvement speaking French. After clearing the table, I’ll usually join my parents and older brother in watching the news, a movie, or a series—as of late, my brother and I have been obsessed with Killing Eve (subtitles in French, of course.) If we’re feeling like a movie, though, I can always count on my host dad to have the best recommendations, from Whiplash to Wes Anderson.
At this point, I call it a night and head to my room for some much-needed sleep. Though it’s early by my usual standards, I find it nearly impossible to keep my eyes open any later than this; as rewarding the days here are, they are equally exhausting. I close the blinds, tell my family “bonne nuit,” and am asleep before my head hits the pillow, already on my way to another day in the Rennes routine.
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