I’ve been in Rouen 20 days now – I can’t quite believe it. I have so much to share already! Let’s go back 20 days, to when I was moving to Rouen which feels like months ago already. I moved to Rouen on Thursday 5th September. I was travelling on the Eurostar, through Paris and then onwards to Rouen.
I arrived at the CROUS accommodation office in Rouen at 2.30pm and was directed to a room where international students were sat waiting to be seen to ensure all the paperwork was intact in order to collect their keys.
Once it was eventually my turn, I was handed over my keys at nearing 5pm. My new Italian friend who was sat next to me in the accommodation office was placed in a room further along the hall from me, so together we headed to find our bâtiment (block).
My room is a fairly standard university hall size with an en-suite bathroom and also a balcony(!) and a very, VERY basic kitchen without an oven for the entire 18 people on my floor.
The first night was a strange one, it didn’t particularly feel as though I was abroad. Each day began to fly by as I met more and more people, notably Erasmus students through other social events, including my first night out in Rouen!
The actual university campus is situated outside of the city centre in the very green suburb of Mont-Saint-Aignan and there is a very regular busway system to the city centre. The city itself is stunning, featuring the Cathérale Notre-Dame and the cobbled streets, lined with medieval timbered buildings. I feel so incredibly blessed to call this city my home for this academic year.
It feels almost bizarre that I have become almost completely settled into a routine already and am able to find my way around the city almost blindfolded. We have been very lucky with the weather recently and I have been on trips to Paris and the seaside town of Le Havre to go to the beach! I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money in my local boulangerie of which I have been daily and indulged in fresh baguettes and all kinds of pastries. No words can express the upgrade in quality of fresh bakery produce in France compared to back in the UK.
I am now nearing the end of my second week of classes at the university and every day it feels as though I am able to follow more and more in French. The actual content of the classes doesn’t seem to be particularly difficult however, simply absorbing it all in French isn’t easy. I found each day extremely exhausting as I endured three hour lectures, having to concentrate extremely hard to understand the content. There have been moments where the lecturer mentions something seemingly important and the class all start to furiously scribble at their notepads, while I’ve completely missed the sentence. I’ll get better at this, I’m sure.
Currently all my notes are in the new found language of ‘Franglais’. I have found myself on many occasion speaking English a lot of the time, not just to other Erasmus students but to French students as well who have expressed to me that they want to practice their English, but likewise I want to practice my French. On the other hand, I have noticed a huge improvement in my ability to understand spoken French, if only my production of spoken French was improving at the same rate.
I’m excited to travel France and continue meeting new people while watching my French improve.