My first week in France is over and I am already exhausted but surprised that the week went by so fast. Every day I begin my days around 6:30 to shower and get ready to leave our residence by 7:30. We walk to the metro station which we ride for about twenty minutes. Then we have to take a bus which we ride on for about ten to fifteen minutes. Lastly, we walk down a road to make it to the school. This whole journey takes anywhere from forty minutes to an hour. Luckily ENSAT, the university we study at, has a café and we get to enjoy coffee before lecture.
The lectures we covered this week included chocolate, wine, horticulture, poultry, and biodiversity. Every day has been similar for the most part we have a culture class in the morning where we learn a little bit about the culture in France. For the most part we concentrate on Toulouse which is the city we are staying in. In addition, our professor teaches us some simple French to help us get by whenever we go shopping or are lost. After our French culture class, we have a class that emphasizes on the topic of the day. For example, on Monday when chocolate was the topic we learned about the history of chocolate followed by how chocolate is produced. Lastly, we learned about the chocolates available in France and which are favored and why. After lecture, we go and eat lunch in the cafeteria along with the French students. This gave us an opportunity to talk to the students and get to know them as well as to find out some about how our experiences are different. Afterwards we would do our hands-on part of the day. Most days a field trip is necessary but days like chocolate and the first wine day we remained on campus. The reason we remained in campus is because both days all we did was have a sensory analysis lab. Personally, I enjoyed the chocolate lab more than the wine day only because I do not like wine.
Some days are different though based on where our field trip is. For example, on Wednesday we had horticulture day in Bordeaux which was two and half hours away. As a result, we had to leave for Bordeaux in Toulouse and did not go to ENSAT at all. Instead, we had lecture in the bus. Other days we do have lecture in the morning at ENSAT but no culture lab because we have to leave for a field trip in order to make it back by five to six. This was the case in our trip to the Poultry Farm which was what I was the most excited since I am a poultry science major at UGA. We were able to learn about Label Rouge and go inside a poultry house. This was a unique experience because it was a naked neck breed. Also, the poultry house was relatively small compared to the ones in the United States. It was also my first time being in a free-range poultry house. This trip has been an amazing experience so far. I cannot wait to see what the other two weeks hold for me.