Bordeaux Life

Salut!

I´ve been rather unmotivated to write something on my blog, apologize for that, however since the semester is coming to an end soon (SAY WHAT?), I feel like it´s time to make a little summary of the last weeks.

Barcelona

Those of you who read my last post, who had I was on Winter  break. After going to Paris, I went to Barcelona, with a short stop in Toulouse. Barcelona was great, definitively a place that you should visit. I stayed at a friends place who´s currently on exchange in Barcelona. I haven´t seen her for a while so it was great to catch-up and just be able to explore the city together. Since, I´m a hardcore tourist, she had to show me the highlights of Barcelona: Sagrada Familia, lots of other Gaudi buildings, the beach and the Monet museum. All the Gaudi things are insanely overpriced, but you absolutely have to go inside the Sagrada Familia. It is simply breathtaking! All the other things are kinda optional, dependent on your budget. A must is going to the Pintxos street, where there are only pintxos (tapas ) bars.For me Barcelona is a city to “live”, since it has a fantastic location (mountains and beach) and offers lots of great opportunities to have fun; whilst Paris is a city for culture and beauty. It was a coincidence that another friend of mine from Malmö was in Barcelona at the same time, we met in the evening. That was really nice. One day I met up with a friend from my exchange in Korea. She studies in Barcelona so introduced us to some very cool non-touristy places. It was great to see her again and also met her friends.

I went to Barcelona by bus, always via Toulouse. I met another friend in Toulouse, she´s on Erasmus there. It is amazing how many of my friends I managed to see in such a short time. Toulouse is a nice city, lots of cool tiny streets and some interesting spots (Bordeaux is way better though!).

After the awesome vacation it was back to uni.

Bordeaux

Spring has arrived in Bordeaux, making the city even more beautiful! Since it is warmer and doesn´t rain all the time I´ve been outside way more than the last months.

I´ve been to Cafe Darwin several times, it´s a hipster cafe in a former factory. Always a highlight. We have at least one picnic a week. Both the lake and the Jardin Public are great spots to have a picnic. Everyone brings wine and snacks and then we just chill and enjoy ourselves.

The fun faire was also in town for a month. I love roller coasters, so I was super excited. I did two rides with my friends. One was really extreme and very long ( the last few seconds were rather painful), with a great view over the city.

I´ve also visited St. Emillion. It is mostly famous for it´s wine and pittoresque center. It is very very small, so I advise you to go there around lunch time, eat something and then walk around. We went with ESN. We first visited a Chateau and saw how the wine was produced and later on walked around the city. It was a very beautiful warm day. If you´re in the area it´s a nice place to visit.

Since the weather is nice it´s way more fun to go to the markets in Bordeaux. There´re so many different ones, you can go to a market everyday. My favorite is the one along the river, which is mostly a food market (ready to eat). Marche de Quais is amazing. Especially the seafood is rather cheap and of a very good quality. Oyster lovers will be amazed. It is kinda touristy but so nice and lots of locals go there as well.

Over ERASMIX (Erasmus association) I got a really cheap ticket for a concert. It was at 11 in the morning and only for an hour. I liked it a lot since it was short and they played pieces from three different composers. I still haven´t managed to go to the Opera, which I definitively have to go before I leave. Just being in this beautiful building must be amazing.

Easter

Easter this year was very different to what I´m used to. It as the first Easter t hat I wasn´t home to celebrate it with my family. In France Easter isn´t really a big thing, the stores are mostly open like usual and I even had to go to university on Friday (never done that in my life). Most of my friends stayed in Bordeaux over Easter. We had picnics and did a lot together. On Easter Sunday I made an Easter egg hunt with my friends, that was so much fun and they really liked the German chocolate. With great company and fantastic weather, I wasn´t that sad that I didn´t spend my Easter at home.

Wine

I still go to the wine tastings every week (they know my name!). With my french class we went to a wine museum. It was interesting but by now I know where the Merlot and the Carbarnet Savignon grows and all of that. One night we were invited to a museum to celebrate the entry of Spain and Portugal to the EU, we obviously had wine from these two countries. It was nice, free wine and food. We had to dress-up and everyone looked super fancy. At first we were all disappointed since the speakers talked so much and we thought we would have a real dinner (sitting at tables, Buffet etc.). But the wine and finger food were really good so that your mood changed quickly.

Sorry that this post is kinda all over the place. I´ll write some more posts which are focused on specific topics, since I´m nearly at the end of my Exchange. I´ll reflect a bit on the university, the city itself and France in general. Hope you like this post anyway and will keep on reading my stuff.

 

Lena

 

 

 

Expectations vs. Reality III

This is the final post from me. I hope these few posts have been/will be helpful to anyone going to or consider going to Coventry University 🙂

Coventry is, as my British girlfriend very poetically put it, is ‘the armpit of England’. Nothing happens in Coventry. Besides, the entire town is just dirty, everything looks dirty and run down so there’s not really much to look at. The town closes down completely between 4 and 5 on weekends and then there’s Sainbury’s left that’s open, which is one of the more expensive places to go grocery shopping.

There’s nowhere really you can go for walks other than the center of the town which is all seen in less than two hours, not really any green areas and the closest cheap supermarket is 20-30 minutes away from the town center. All in all its not the most amazing town in England. Birmingham is only 20 minutes away on the train which of course is a big plus!

Coventry University hasn’t done a lot to welcome us exchange students. The induction days here was filled with short presentations about a lot of different things that weren’t relevant for Erasmus students at all (some of the people from Coventry even pointed it out themselves at the start of their presentations). A lot of the presentations were even aimed at Master students; however, most of the people that were at the presentation were Bachelor students.

There was no ‘get to know each other’ things at all during the three induction days, there wasn’t even anything like it after the induction days. All together I didn’t feel anything was done from Coventry University’s side to welcome the exchange students properly or to make the move to a different country easier.

All in all, the entire stay in Coventry has been a big let-down. Academically I haven’t gotten anything out of this term, and had I known it would be like this I wouldn’t even have applied to Coventry. I feel like I’ve wasted a term on this, instead of doing some better, more academically challenging courses back home at Malmö University. And I know I’m not alone with this feeling.

If you want some easy credits and to stay in a pretty regular and boring English town for a few months, Coventry might be something for you. But if you want to learn something useful for your further education, then Coventry isn’t the right place. Sadly.

Expectations vs. Reality II

Continued from my last post 🙂

I have six exams all together in my three courses and the longest of them is 2500 words. I spoke to some of the British students and they told me that this is the longest paper they have ever had to write – I’m doing all second year courses.

Some girls from my child language class even tried to have the deadline moved, because “three weeks aren’t enough to write 2500 words” … I was shocked when they first started pushing the teacher to move the deadline. However, they tried at three different occasions to get him to move the deadline. I’ve never experienced a bigger lack of respect for a teacher than this!

My exam in Short Story Workshop is also very different from anything I’ve ever experienced. We have to write a short story about anything we want. There’s no instructions at all, just that we have to write 2000 words, any genre and any theme we want.

Furthermore, the teachers give us feedback through the entire process. One of my teachers sits down with us, reads our entire story and gives us feedback on it. This is BEFORE we hand it in as out final exam in this class. It seems very strange to me that they are allowed to read our exam paper and correct it before the deadline.

I have spoken to people and heard from my friends about other people’s experience of Coventry University. People from other universities in Sweden, from Korea, France, The Netherlands, Germany and Spain, and everybody has the same experience as me. My Korean flat mate said “I haven’t learned anything” about my Shakespeare class. My flatmate from the Netherlands has started to view the entire stay in Coventry as “a long vacation” and spends a lot of time going on trips.

Other people are, like me, just waiting to go home, simply because there’s nothing to do here. There’s not a lot of school work, the town in pretty boring, and there’s not endless money to spend on traveling.

When I first got accepted into Coventry the choices I had when it came to accommodation was VERY limited, I could only choose between two places – Singer Hall and Priory Hall. One catered and one self-catered, however, both without en suite.

I chose Singer Hall, because it wasn’t catered and I wanted to be able to make my own food and not feel bad if I went out for dinner sometimes (on a side note it should be mentioned that catered only includes breakfast and dinner Monday-Friday).

Singer Hall is placed just outside the city center, but everything is still only 10-15 minutes away. I’ve really enjoyed living at Singer Hall up until a few weeks ago. Most of all it just looks like a residential area on the outside, it doesn’t scream student accommodation which is really nice! We have a cleaning lady coming 2-3 times a week sorting out the shared areas and most of the time it has been pretty quiet.

However, a few weeks ago the people living above me started making crazy amounts of noise from around ten at night until somewhere between one and three in the morning. I have several times called security, as it ONLY happens on school nights never in the weekends and it has resulted in me missing several lessons, simply because I don’t sleep.

Security does absolutely nothing. If they can’t hear anything when they open the front door to the flat upstairs they just leave again. I’ve spoken to the reception about it, still nothing happens. It has now been going on for basically every night in around a month and no one does anything. It is driving me and the other girls in my flat insane!

Another bad thing about Singer Hall, is the fact that they switch off the heat several hours during the day, it’s starting to get warmer outside so it’s alright now, but back when I first came here I spent the evenings wrapped up in my quilt because it was absolutely freezing. It is printed in our welcome papers that they switch off the heat, so there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done about it. Nevertheless, It gets really, really cold at times, so if you’re coming to Coventry in the Fall term bring some gooood jumpers!

… One more post to come! 😀

busy days, or rather, weeks

I realise it has been ages since I last updated. And a lot have happened since then. I have been busy with not only school, which to be honest isn’t that hard here in Thailand, but also with travelling. This blog post might be quite lengthy in the regards that it has been a while since last update.

Let’s start talking about the school, Rangsit University, here I am reading 5 courses all in the spectrum of communication arts, not really the same line of subject as I study at Malmö, which are linguistics and literature, but rather courses regarding the field of mass communications. If that makes sense. Then I also have a class in Thai language, as I am indeed in Thailand and knowing some local lingo really helps you out. Three of these courses the level is ridiculous low! Like I could compare it as first year in upper secondary school, if even that. The “lectures” last for about an hour out of the scheduled three hour block. The teacher read from a printed out power point and give tiny extra explanation to those. And that’s it. For the midterm in one of these courses, Introduction to Mass Communication, contained 4 basic questions that took me 10 minutes to answer and for the other course we were to have a presentation about the elements of journalism. So I had prepared a power point, being ready to present in front of the class, something I am always dreading. Came to class and turned out I just had to sit in front the teacher and read straight from my notes. Although I like this professor, he is this old Thai man, who used to be a journalist, whom have terrible English, but always wants to talk to me about Sweden. Last week he asked me where I was from, and I said “Oh you probably don’t know, but a small town called Timrå, just north of Sundsvall” whereas he replied with his broken English, “I’ve been there, when I was young and handsome! Haha, and ice hockey!” He is so nice and fun. But now I’m getting side tracked.

Then there is a photography class, which I enjoy, and where we every week get a homework to take some specific photos. It’s an easy going and fun course. Then the last course is Principles of Public Relations, a course I didn’t think I would find that interesting, but my course coordinator here, Dr Ten, really recommended it since they have invited a guest professor for this term, so I choose that one as well. And I must say, I do not regret it at all. It is by far the best and most interesting course! The guest professor is an Australian woman (oh how I have missed that accent) whom been teaching all over the world, as well as working in PR for years. She’s so engaging, passionate and so present. Probably one of the best teachers I’ve had. Finally a course that hold the standard of higher education. After have gone half of this course, it has gotten me really interested in working within PR, something I’ve never thought of before.

Now let’s move on to travelling and what I have been up to when I’ve had time off.

Firstly I went on a trip with the Rangsit international collage department, called the local wisdom trip. Basically most of the exchanges students this term along with some Thai students that’s part of the buddy program came along. We took the university bus early in the morning for about 3 hours out to nowhere, thanking back now, I sadly can’t remember the name of the place. Here we started by getting in small boats along the river, where we were to plant some mango tree in the mud. And not mud like on the ground on a rainy day, but like mud so deep it reached my upper thigh, almost my hips at some places. That was fun and terrifying. Me with my bad balance I almost fell down so many times, but was able to stay up with the help of branches and other steady people’s hands. One guy in our boat filmed this experience, so will try to insert his video if you’d like to have a look. Then we got in to the boats again and drove from the river out to the open but calm sea. We stopped by an open house out in the middle of the sea for lunch. After lunch it was time for some water sports, such as kayaking, swimming or doughnut after a jetski. I did the two latter combined with some tanning on the deck. The doughnut though, so much fun! My partner even fell in the water and had to climb up again which isn’t the easiest thing to do when wet. After a few hours we went back to the mainland, for some more water games, this time in a small water adventure park. Totally spent we went back around dinnertime, but due to the heavy traffic that Bangkok is mournfully blessed with it took longer than it should.

Next trip was to an Island owned by the Thai Navy called Samea San Island, and where you can’t get to unless you have a Thai person driving you. I went with Theresa and her Thai buddy Mellie and her friends. We drove there early in the morning and when arriving, it was like paradise! White fine sand beaches with crystal clear water. And barely any tourists, like seriously Theresa and I were the only non-Thai people there, ha-ha! In the evening and back on mainland we went to a night market and had a few beers at a traditional Thai bar. The next day we went to another navy owned beach, but this one much more popular with the tourists. As usual I got burned, even though my devoted use of SPF 50+. There is no escaping it for me, those damn red pigments I was blessed with.

The weekend after that Pattaya was on the schedual, and for the sole purpose of the Maya Music Festival. Pattaya being famous as Thailand’s sex trade city, isn’t really something for us, and us being me and four Finnish girls, but who can resist a good house music festival, with a sick line-up only 3 hours away eh? So we had rented this apartment away from downtown Pattaya in the more calm and family friendly Jomten beach (I think it was called). The festival was amazing! Can’t wait for Summerburst this summer in Stockholm to experience the feeling again. Next two days was just spent relaxing by the pool and a brief outing to Pattaya centre for a quick look and a well needed greasy pizza.

Next stop, Ayutthaya, the previous capital of Thailand. A city filled with old and broken, but amazing and majestic architecture. Me, two Finnish girls, Riina and Laura, along with Riinas brother that was here for a visit, rented a tuk tuk with the driver to drive us around to all the old temples and sites that needed to be seen. It all took 4 hours and was amazing, so much history in this place. If ever in Bangkok, I truly recommend going there as it’s only about an hour away.

The day after that I went to Hua Hin by myself to get some relaxing by the sea. Here I didn’t do much then enjoying the sun and sea. One evening I went to a night market and bough some bargains and had a glass of wine at a Swedish bar. My first time speaking Swedish face to face to someone since arriving to Thailand.
Went back to Bangkok and spend most of the weekend in downtown Bangkok along with Riina, her brother, Laura and her friend who was here for a visit too. We among some things went to the JJ market, the biggest one in Thailand, picked up some clothes and a small handbag. We also visited Khaosan Road, a must for tourists for a massive dinner along with some cooling cocktails. We also visited the famous rooftop bar located on the 64th floor in the Leuba hotel. This rooftop being famous from Hangover part 2. The view was nice and all, but the drinks were ridiculous overpriced. A simple Whiskey Sour costed almost 200 Swedish kronor! Which everywhere else in Thailand would be like not even 50 kronor. And there were nowhere to sit, no chairs nor any tables. So we took some photos, drank our cocktail and left.

Next trip was the one I’ve been looking forward to ever since I found out I could actually re-enter Thailand on my single entry visa, by simply applying for a re-entry stamp. Hong Kong! With my love for big cities, this was so exciting. And I can safely say I love this city and will try to return sometime in the future to explore more of the city. We had a bit of unlucky with the weather, it was foggy (which to be fair HK is famous for) a bit rainy and for us cold with mare 15 to 19 degrees, and coming from 36 degrees, brrr cold! Every day we were out walking and exploring for 12-14 hours. Since it was so foggy, we couldn’t go up to Victoria Peak, which is a park up in the mountain that is supposed to offer an amazing view of the city. We went to a museum, ate Chinese food, did some shopping (hello new converse shoes for more than half the price in Sweden!), went to an Irish pub and was caught in a swarm of drunk British guys when they found out we were Nordic. Stumbled on a show of traditional Chinese dance. Not to forget to mention, everyone spoke English, and good English, which was nice for a change! But yeah, 3 days was not enough for exploring Hong Kong.

Moving on to less interesting subject of weather. It is starting to get hotter and hotter now. And I am not liking it. Today we had 38 degrees in the SHADOW, which in the sun feels like 45, with a humidity of 60%. Five minutes out and I am sweating. Gross. And hotter it’s going to get next month. Would it have been the dry heat that I had in Australia it would have been fine. It is the humid and sticky air that’s killing me. I was sitting outside of the international service centre today, and on one of the tv’s on the wall a video from a Thai girl’s exchange in Sweden started showing (they show videos of places to get more people to go on an exchange) and there were a bunch of photos of snow and autumn, it made me really miss Sweden and to be able to dress in layers, cosy jumpers, coats and big scarfs. I am having a great time here, but yeah wouldn’t mind going back just for the cold!

That’s all for me this time. Have a good day wherever you are,
Sara

Expectations vs. Reality

Hi!

This is my first post on this blog and also the only one I’m going to write. However, it’s going be a three part one!

I haven’t written any other posts on this blog, simply because the entire stay here in Coventry has been a bit of a let-down to me, and I haven’t felt that anything was worth sharing.

However, I do feel an obligation to tell other people that dream of going to Coventry how it is really like over here.

When I first chose England it was with universities like Oxford and Cambridge in mind, great universities with a history of amazing teachers and with teaching of a really high and advanced level. (I got nervous about how much I would have to work I would have when I was told to choose three courses!) It was the only picture I has in my mind when thinking of universities in England. However, that is not the case when it comes to Coventry.

I’ve currently been here just over two months, and I miss Malmö! I miss having actual teaching where talking notes will be helpful – where it’s possible to take notes! I miss doing proper work, having real academic texts to read!
The level at Coventry is very, very low compared to Malmö. It most of all feels like high school most of the time. A lot of the people I have classes with don’t really seem have any respect for the teacher or the other students. In one of my classes up to 10 people talk during EVERY single class, not even whispering, they actually talk out loud and the teacher does not say anything, he just continues mumbling his lecture.

He doesn’t seem to care about teaching either. He never starts on time and always ends class before time. The classes are already only one hour long, so we only have between 35 and 45 minutes of actual teaching every time, which is just not good enough!

The class is on child language and after having mumbled his way through five different examples of children’s writing, he showed us a picture and asked how old we thought the child who had written it was. After people had tried to guess he said “well I don’t know myself, so your guess is as good as mine” … This is the level of the teaching in this class.

In my other class about Shakespeare, we also only have lectures that are an hour. We are sometimes very shortly introduced to theory about Shakespeare and his plays, but we haven’t gotten any readings apart from the actual plays. So no theory whatsoever to build any arguments on, just his plays.

In my last class, Short Story Workshop, we haven’t had to turn any writing in so far. Two months in to a writing course and not a single deadline! We have been put in ‘writers groups’ that should give each other feedback etc., but we haven’t been told how to feedback or what to look for so no one is giving feedback to anyone.

I have online lectures in this course and online tests to check that we’ve watched the lecture. However, the tests are basically just ‘how much have you memorized’ test. I haven’t learned anything from these lectures. The seminars are a bit better, they are three hour long and start out with a mini lecture, which is often really helpful.

… To be continued! 🙂

Happy 1 month!

As the rain passes by and the sun is afriad to show, we’re sitting here realising. 1 month has passed. The days are everyone passing by and we’re all starting to live a new life in a new reality. Still, 1 month after arrival I can have a hard time understanding that I’m actually here.

Even though I most of the time understands that I’m here, I can still pinch my arm to see if everything that’s happening is for real. And it is. From the first moment i open up my eyes every day to the moment I close my eyes to go to sleep. It’s kind of amazing to be here!

But, even the good things have it’s dark places. Sometimes the dark clouds are dragging in over your mood. These dark clouds affects your mood for the day. I can’t speak for everyone else, but my dark clouds are the home sickness. Maybe it’s just 2 hours flight to get back to sweden, and England is a pretty good country. There is homesickness. The things that you are used with. Walking around in a ICA and can find everythings place. Cook whatever you want. Sleep in your own cosy and comfortable bed. Have the oppurtunity to call who ever you want whenever you want. And have your second half close to you.

BUT, as the life passes on, I’m starting to realize: My life here is pretty good! I have my friends, from all around the world. The Cathedral, the place that makes me calm and get me enjoy the things I love. Every trips we do, from Sherwood forest to Bristol. The things that makes me laugh! Worcester is from now on a part of me.

1 month has passed, 1 month with both happiness and sadness, 1 month where I found friends for a lifetime!

We celebrated 1 month both wednesday and yesterday. Wednesday with italian dinner at a restaurant in town and later on quiztime at a bar. And yesterday we where out partying. I can say one thing: Jägerbombs are scary things! But I’ve had so much fun and I’m gonna enjoy every day until it’s time to go back to sweden! 😀 <3

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Until Next Time

XoXo

Winter Break- Part 1

Salut!

I´m currently on winter vacation. YES, we have vacation here :). My first destination was Paris. Uhhhh, yes you read correctly: Paris. Even though I was in Paris just two weeks ago my first stop was once again the French capital. I did not plan to go to Paris so soon again, but my buddy from Korea was in town and I took the opportunity to meet her 🙂

Day 1

This time I took the train on Thursday afternoon. I showed up to my classes, got my luggage from home and headed to the train station. The train ride takes only 3 hours (compared to 8 hours a BIG difference). I found a cheap ticket for 35 Euros over the SNCF webpage, so it´s definitely worth checking it out even if you don´t have the SNCF jeune card. The journey was short and comfortable. I arrived in Paris-Montparnasse in the evening and straight away headed to my hostel. I stayed at the same hostel, which was very convenient as I knew where to go and everything. I booked a dorm for 10 people and got a 4-bed room. Felt like a VIP 🙂

After some miscommunication I met up with  Annie (my buddy and friend from Korea for those that can´t remember) to catch up and have dinner. It was extremely weird to see her in Paris, I can only imagine her in the Korean context. Well, it was fantastic to see her again. Even though she was my buddy (forced thing), we ended up being great friends (voluntarily) and we had a lot to talk about. Annie just spent the last 1.5 (!!) months travelling around Europe. She´s probably seen more than most Europeans 😉 Paris was her last stop before heading back to Seoul.

Great start to the vacation!

Day 2

BLUE SKY AND SUNSHINE!! First time ever to have AMAZING weather in Paris. I met up with Annie at the station to take the RER (long distance metro) to Versailles. It is very convenient to take public transportation to Versailles Castle, since it´s cheap and quick. We went early to escape the masses. The entrance was free for me, Annie unfortunately had to pay since she is not a EU citizen (unfair). We headed to the castle and were stunned by it´s vastness! It´s huge!! When I think of Versailles I always think of the Treaty of Versailles for some reason ( History Higher lever heheh). Inside you get an audio guide in various languages (German for me ; Korean for Annie). The audio guide is great since you can walk at your own speed and look around as much as you want. There were some people in the castle but it wasn´t too crowded. The rooms were very impressive. So much gold and decorations! The king really wanted to have an impressive castle.

The garden is also huge, like everything in Versailles Castle. In summer it obviously is nicer, but in winter it also has it´s flair. We also visited Trianon (Grand and Petit), which are super cute little castles.

After spending 4 hours in Versailles we headed back to Paris. We had lunch close to Notre-Dame (for some reason we ended up in a restaurant with 60% Koreans!!) and walked around. We went to a shop (“Merci”) where apparently all Korean tourists go in order to buy a bracelet. Since I was walking around with a Korean, we obviously had to do exactly the same. I don´t think I´ve never seen so many Koreans in one single store !! Hilarious. Annie told me about the Korean hotspots in Paris and I was able to spot many of them around the city. Koreans are very easy to identify for me, since they all have the same style of clothing and hair cut. I had to smile ever time I saw Koreans (awww, lovely people). Another very popular thing to do in Paris if you are Korea is to go to a certain Pharmacy and shop till you drop. I think that this is a bit to extreme but if it makes people happy. I don´t think that Germans (or Europeans in general), google “souvenirs in Paris” and then buy the things that they have been told to buy. Cultural difference I guess. I would buy macaroons and a magnet or something, but I´m not as stylish as Koreans are.

We had dinner in a brasserie. Croque Monsieur (as french as it gets) and some drinks. I was not fully recovered from my cold, so headed back to the hostel afterwards.

We said farewell. Annie´s flight was on Saturday evening and before she wanted to do some more shopping. I had such a great time with her! Can´t wait to see her in summer.

Day 3 and Day 4

The next two days basically were all about Museums.

I visited 6 museums (3 a day). Since museums are free for people under 26, you should absolutely go to Paris whilst being that age! I cannot stress this enough, it will save you sooooo much money!

I love museums! I Love history! I love art!- Paris is a cultural heaven. Unfortunately the tickets for the Opera were so insanely expensive (surprise, not!) so I couldn´t go. However I really went to some great museums.

Musee D´Orsay: the building itself is super interesting and beautiful. The museums mostly has impressionist art ( all famous people are there).

Musee du Moyen Age: I went there simply cause I was in the area and my tour guide said I should go. It is worth it. Very interesting exhibitions about the middle ages. Better than expected.

Centre Pompidou: This museum has my favorite art: Modern Art (Expressionism and Impressionism). The exhibition had it all, only not Franc Marc (my favorite painter) but I can live with that.

Musee Rodin:  I´m not a big fan of statues but Rodin definitely knows his stuff. The museums is in a beautiful village and had a great garden. So even if your not interested you have something to look at.

Musee d´Armee: Basically the war museum. Naja, the usual arms and weapons. I was bored and walked out after 30 minutes. If your interested in the “art” of warfare it might interest you more. Napoleon´s grave is there too.

Orangerie: Once in a lifetime you have to see Monet´s waterlilies! The huge paintings are amazing. The exhibition room was made just for the paintings. The rest of the collection is also worth a visit but the Monets are unbeatable!

Cemetery Pere-Lachaise: Not a museum but lots of history. All famous people are buried there (if you manage to find their graves). Mysterious atmosphere included.

I also did a Seine Boottour, it was soooo worth it. On Monday morning I took the bus back to Bordeaux.

Some tips about Paris:

  1. Download the metro app: saves a lot of time.
  2.  Buy the day card (Saturday or Sunday) for the metro.
  3. Walking a bit more saves you a lot of money
  4.  Do a Seine Cruise, I did that it was AMAZING. Such a great way to explore the city (and to relax your feet).
  5. Get up early! Tourists are lazy so you better be at the museums/sights when they open in order to have some peace. 9/10 is perfect.
  6. If you want to go to a concert, show etc. you have to book several months in advance.
  7. Randomly walk around Paris and explore: there´s so much to see
  8. Don´t be intimidated by the security checks or queues in front of the museums. Mostly only the security check takes a while.

Now I´m back in Bordeaux before heading to Barcelona. This vacation is all about big cities and reunions 🙂

Lena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worcester+Lochness odjuret=Sant?

Lochness odjuret, har det hittat ett nytt hem?

Är det en val som hamnat fel?

Eller är det någon källa som sprutar vatten?

Runt om nätet här i Storbritannien sprider sig nu rykten, filmer och bilder på vad det egentligen är som sprutar vatten i en översvämmad galoppbana. Men vi kanske ska börja från början, innan vi drar några förhastade slutsatser.

River Severn, Storbritanniens längsta flod. Med sina 354 km räcker sig river Severn från Wales till Bristol och mynnar så småningom ut i Themsen. Men riktigt så långt söderut ska vi inte, vi tar ett stopp i den lilla staden där jag numera bor och där ryktena sprider sig. Worcester. River Severn flyter genom vår lilla stad och delar in staden i en vacker oas. Men ibland kommer det till den punkten då barriärerna man har satt upp för att hindra vattnet från att stiga inte hjälper och regnet fortsätter dundra ner. Då är det bara ett faktum, översvämning. Parkbänkarna som står längs promenadvägen syns knappt och trapporna som leder till roddklubbarna är borta, täckta av vatten. Vackert intill denna flod ligger en galoppbana, en stor bana med ett perfekt läge intill både stad och flod. Men floden kan ställa till det, som det har gjort nu. Numera är galoppbanan en sjö med små byggnader som syns i mitten. Här bor nu alltså Lochness, en val eller något helt annat. Vad exakt lär vi väl få reda på när vattnet har försvunnit. Sakta men säkert försvinner vattnet, men det vet man ju inte hur länge det håller sig. England är ju känt för sina 365 dagar med regn. 😉

Förutom vår stads nya mysterium så flyter livet på. 3 veckor har snart passerat och jag har kommit tillrätta i både rum, universitet och stad. Jag har hittat mina egna små smultronställen i staden dit jag kan gå för att få några timmars lugn och ro, drömma mig bort eller tänka tillbaka på det man saknar där hemma.

3 veckor in, betyder även 2 veckor in i terminen och nu börjar förberedelserna för 4 uppsatser som ska in lagom till påsk. Nu börjar läsningen, pluggandet och skrivandet. Men jag försöker att ha något att göra varje helg och på kvällarna för att inte bli uppslukad av universitet. Jag spelar badminton två dagar i veckan, går på högmässa i domkyrkan varje söndag och sociala kvällar och helger med nyfunna vänner runt om från världen. När man håller sig sysselsatt blir hemlängtan lite mindre.Under de kommande 6 veckornas dagar existerar endast 4 uppsatser. Men det lär bli bra uppsatser då jag studerar väldgt intressanta kurser. 🙂

Until next time. <3

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Paris

Salut!

After being in France for a month, it was time to visit the French capital. I have been to Paris before, but it was for a Model UN conference and we didn´t have enough time to actually see Paris. When I found out that you can go to Paris by bus for 5 Euros I started to plan a week-end trip with my friends. The three of us took the night bus on Thursday and arrived early in the morning, after a 8 hour bus ride.

Day 1

We arrived at 6 AM after a very long bus ride. Since by now I´m rather used to sitting in buses or airplanes for a very long time, I even managed to sleep a bit. The Megabusses stop at Quai de Seine which is right next to the Metro stop Bercy. We were tired but happy to finally have arrived. We took the metro to our hostel, which was right next to the Sacre-Coeur. We got lucky and could check-in straight away and even have some breakfast (the croissants were amazing!). After some food and a lot of coffee we were ready to start sightseeing. My role during the trip was to be the guide, whilst the other two had to make sure that me took breaks and ate frequently, if you have ever traveled with me you´ll know that I am a hard-core tourist and have to see EVERYTHING. I hope that my friends actually enjoyed themselves,they didn´t complain so I guess it wasn´t too bad.

First stop was the Louvre. We first saw it from the back and where like “what building is this?”, then we realize it is THE Louvre (in our defense: we were tired and the Louvre is famous for it´s front side and not it´s back). We were there a few minutes after it opened. As we all are under 25 we had free entry, which is the case in most museums in France, so you better go while your under 25!! We directly went to see the Mona Lisa, it´s not a very impressive picture (really small) but it has something special. Since we were early we actually could look at the picture in peace (okay, with like 10 Chinese tourists). Sightseeing in winter as its benefits 🙂

After the Mona Lisa we had a look at some more paintings. We saw the highlights and also saw the Egyptian exhibition. Not only does the Louvre have some great pieces of art but simply the building is impressive!

After the Louvre, we walked through the Jardin des Tuiliers to the Place de la Concorde. The weather overall was very cloudy but at least it didn´t rain. Overall, we were rather lucky.

We then took the bus to the Eiffel Tower. The first time I saw it I wasn´t very impressed. Seeing it in daylight and having enough time to walk around made a real difference! I was fascinated! It is really impressive after all and I do not understand why I remembered it as being rather small and disappointing the last time. We didn´t go up as we thought it was expensive and the weather wasn´t great anyway. From the Eiffel Tower we walked towards the Arc de Triomphe. On our way we saw many beautiful building (like nearly everywhere in Paris!) and passed by some great shops. A highlight was the Elli Saab store, I´ve never seen the dresses in real life, AMAZING. Unfortunately slightly above what I usually spend on clothes 😉

For lunch we had burgers from Quick (the French McDonalds). As we where on the Champs-Elysees when we got hungry, we didn´t have many options as everything is insanely overpriced. It was our first time at Quick and it was quite nice.

After we had lunch we went to the Arc de Triomphe. After walking around for several hours we were exhausted at went back to our hostel to rest a bit.

In the evening we walked around Montmartre. We passed by the Moulin Rouge and  the bar from the Amelie movie.We found a nice place to have dinner and some wine. In Montmartre prices are fine and you can actually afford eating or drinking something there. After dinner we walked up to the Sacre-Coeur and enjoyed the beautiful view over the city. It was a perfect end to a great first day

Day 2 

After getting a good night of sleep, we had breakfast and continued our sightseeing tour.

We started with the Notre-Dame. Notre-Dame is architecturally way more impressive than Sacre-Ceour and it is definitely a must see. Afterwards we walked to the Sorbonne University. The building is amazing and it was really great to see the place where the French elite is educated at. The Pantheon is just some streets away, so we visited it as well. Voltaire, Rousseau and the Curies are buried there, so it has a lot of history.

Later on we went to the Jardin du Luxembourg. Afterwards we went to the Marche aux puces de Saint-Quen. The market is huge, and you can find a lot of different things there. The first section sells clothes and shoes, whilst further along the street you can buy antiques. I´m not a great fan of antiques or second-hand stores (I hate the smell in these paces) but it is a big thing in Paris and the atmosphere was great.

For lunch we bought some sandwiches and ate them in a park close to the market.

Later on we visited the Centre Pompidou and walked around in the area. We didn´t actually visit the museum as there was a long queue. It was finally sunny and we enjoyed walking around. We went to the Galeries Lafayette, shopping in my opinion belongs to a Paris trip just like visiting the Louvre. From the roof of the Galeries Lafayette you can get a great view over the city (FREE), so we did that. Afterwards M. went to the Centre Pompidou whilst Z. and I went shopping. We managed to spend around 2 hours in the Galeries Lafayette! I was successful and bought some really nice things ( on sale so don´t worry I´m not broke just quite yet). We really enjoyed it and I was happy that we had decided to separate.

In the evening we had Thai food (very Parisian!) and some wine. The next day we took the bus back to our beautiful Bordeaux.

Overall Paris was amazing. Paris has so much to offer, especially for people that love culture. Even if the weather wasn´t that great, we still had a great time and managed to see A LOT. I would definitely advise you to go off-season as there are way less people and the Parisians seems more relaxed and are way friendlier. 

One remark about safety. Paris, just like any other city attracts lots of people and sadly also criminals. However claims that Paris is particular unsafe is an exaggeration. If you follow a few rules you are fine: NEVER buy things from the sellers at the touristic places, as chances are high that you´ll get robbed. Also: many people walked around asking us to sign things, simply answer “Non” (or any other language) if the ask you if you speak English. It is rather annoying but it is the most efficient way. Also, we were unlucky to be tricked at the metro station by a fake metro staff member (they are extremely sneaky and professional). Only buy tickets (for anything) at the official ticket offices! 

One last remark about the atmosphere in Paris after the attacks. It has been some months and Parisians instantaneously after the attacks tried to live their normal lives again. This is very impressive and takes a lot of courage. Police presence in Paris has  always been high, however since the attacks it is common to see heavily armed soldiers. This might be disturbing at first, however you get used to this quickly. 

I already look forward to visit Paris again in order to explore the city a bit more!

 

Worcester, den lilla staden mitt i den engelska landsbygden

Ja, det stämmer väldigt bra. Men jag tror att det är mer än bara en liten stad. Det är en oas, en tillflyktsort, ett hjärta i den engelska landsbygden. Du kan gå och strosa runt staden, oavsett tid på dygnet och alltid känna dig säker, du kan gå omkring och alltid veta att du har alltid någon att fråga om hjälp ifall du går vilse och om du bara vill ha en stunds vila, ta då och sätt dig på en parkbänk med utsikt mot river severn och katedralen.

Jag har bott i denna mysiga stad i 1 vecka nu, och jag kan börja kalla denna stad mitt hem. Jag bor i ett typiskt engelskt hus byggt av rödbrunt tegel. Huset som ser så litet och gulligt ut från utsidan, är långtifrån litet. Här finns 7 sovrum, 3 badrum, 2 vardagsrum och ett stort kök. Här bor jag, i rum nr 7. Med utsikt mot St. Johns Campus, fotbollsplaner och små kolonilotter. Mitt rum är det minsta av alla i huset, men det gör mig ingenting, jag får plats med allt jag behöver och ett litet rum gör det bara mysigt. Jag bor tillsammans med 3 killar och två andra tjejer, så här är rätt fullt när det ska lagas mat. Jag är den enda utbytesstudenten, mina rumskamrater pluggar alla här på heltid och är riktiga britter (vilket hörs på deras dialekt) 🙂

Från mitt lilla rum ser jag St. Johns Campus, det Campus där jag kommer ha alla mina lektioner, förutom sportkurserna då jag kommer hålla till på University Arena. Jag kommer under min tid här läsa 4 kurser, eller modules som de kallar det här. Jag kommer läsa två education modules med inriktning på specialpedagogik och lärarens psykologi. Utöver det kommer jag läsa två sport modules, group dynamics och physical activity och health. Jag har haft min introduktion i en education module och en i sport. Både kurserna verkar otroligt roliga och lärorika och ser fram emot att få börja på de andra två också. Däremot tror jag att det jobbiga kommer bli att läsa 4 kurser samtidigt, då vi i Sverige läser en kurs åt gången. Men om man börjar i tid och använder både kalender och planerar så ska nog allt gå bra.

Jag har under min första vecka här upplevt otroligt mycket! Bowling, en mässa i den äldsta katedralen i England, jag ska tydligen lära mig spela lacrosse, fått många nya fina vänner och upplevt både skillnader och likheter mellan Sverige och England.

Ikväll väntar introduktion av en till kurs, och ja, den börjar vid 5 och håller på till 8. Inte alls vad jag är van vid i Sverige. Efter det ska jag antagligen ut tillsammans med mina rumskamrater. 🙂

Så livet rullar på i vanlig takt, med regnet som ramlar ner från molnen titt som tätt och blåsten som drar in och man undrar om Malmö och Worcester har bytt plats, men lite härlig sol har vi trots allt fått. Nu ska jag fortsätta min dag, försöka ta mig upp från sängen och bege mig mot dagens introduktion.

Until next time,

Sophie

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