This summer, the Walton College is proud to feature Nicholas Dintelmann, who will be guest-blogging for us while he embarks on a student abroad experience in France. Nicholas is entering his junior year in the Walton College and is majoring in International Business: Supply Chain Management with minors in French and Economics. Links to his previous posts are located at the bottom of this entry.
France is truly amazing and is completely different from the United States. I’ve decided that this post will highlight some of the things that have been somewhat challenging to comprehend, and yet have brought insight to all of us on our trip. Here is just a brief list:
-There are a lot of smokers here. It is quite common to see many people smoking at cafes, restaurants, and in the streets. One of the most common questions a stranger will ask you is if you have a lighter he could borrow.
-There are very few sodas here, but there are a few monopolies. Coca-Cola, Fanta, Lipton, and Orangerina (a carbonated orange drink) are what almost every place has. I’ve only seen Pepsi in Germany and have yet to see Dr. Pepper or Root Beer.
-Loitering and public intoxication are not crimes here. You will see many interesting people in the streets, but if you continue with your business, there are absolutely no problems.
-France has graffiti everywhere! I believe it’s just a way of self-expression. The art is nothing like graffiti in the United States. It takes some getting used to, but I don’t think I’ll look at graffiti the same again.
-Travelling here is so easy! They have a company called SNCF, which is kind of like France’s official travel agency. The trains that go everywhere in France are run by them, I believe, and tickets are easy to get here. I have been to Lyon and Strasbourg with very little hassle, thanks to them.
-Fast food here is expensive!!! There is no ‘one euro’ menu, and the cheapest thing at the McDonald’s is a Big Mac Meal for about 5 euros. Remember, that’s the cheapest…. Also, there are no refillable soda machines here, so you get one and have to ask for another if you are still thirsty.
-In the United States, politics and religion are commonly known as the two topics that should not be talked about unless you are with good company. Here, it is common for people to talk about it. Many French people I have met have asked about my political views, the American candidates, and if I know about French politics.
-Very different cars here, which is to be expected. I find it funny that in the states, German cars (VW, Mercedes-Benz) are considered almost luxury cars. In France, I saw a delivery truck that was a Mercedes-Benz. There are various French, British, and German cars on the streets, and almost all are stick shift.
-The French Regions are very proud of their food, history, and traditions. Different dishes and traditions are everywhere; so don’t be surprised if someone explains the entire region's history to you. It is very interesting to listen to and learn about them. Each one is truly unique.
-Last but not least, the French love three things: Cheese, Wine, and Bread. Probably their favorite foods here.
Bonjour la France