Monday, December 12, 2011

Greetings from Nice, France - Verrazano Student Studying Abroad

Francesca Navarro, Verrazano Class of 2012, has been spending the fall semester on a CSI Exchange Ambassador program at IPAG in Nice, France.  Francesca is studying Business Management with a minor in Corporate Communications.  Francesca recently sent us an update from France!

Traveling is an exciting and different way of learning how this world works. While some are content with viewing the world though others eyes, I decided I will not be this type of person. Therefore, I chose to do an exchange program in France.  I am currently in the South of France in the fifth largest city, called Nice.

For my first week in Nice, I stayed in a hostel near the city center. Of course there were many things I needed to do, but for the first couple of days I couldn't even figure out how not to fall asleep in the middle of the day; jetlag became my worst enemy. Once I was able to stay awake, I spent a lot of my time exploring; sometimes alone or sometimes with a new friend I met in the hostel.

The first challenge I encountered was finding proper living accommodations. So many questions surged through my mind: Where will I live? Who would I room with? Can I afford it? Will it be close to school? I must admit it wasn't very easy trying to find the right match, but eventually I did.

“To those who will see, the world awaits” and along the way you have an amazing opportunity to meet unique individuals who will change your perception of the world. Like I said before, I finally found an apartment where I am living with two girls from school: one is Swiss and the other is German. They have a lot of experiences with traveling abroad and so they have been great resources for me during my stay here. We share our thoughts, experiences, culture, music, and most importantly food. We always say that we are "spoiled poor students" because almost everyday we cook something new, invite friends over, and pop open a bottle of cheap wine - all on a small budget. These dinners truly makes it feel like we are a family and this has also made it much easier to adjust to living in another country.

Roomates: Francesca, Aline (Swiss student), and Ines (German student)

The most impacting experience so far has been a concept called couch surfing. Couch surfing is a social website where travelers search for people who will allow them to stay in their home for a few days in hopes of meeting locals and learning more about the city they are in -  COMPLETELY FREE! My roommates have had positive experiences with couch surfing and so they suggested that we help other couch surfers who are looking for somewhere to stay. The mission of couch surfing is "Teach, Learn, Share"and every person we have hosted has taught us something new and exciting. In exchange they learn about us and the city we are living in; together we all share stories, traveling plans, and so much more. In my opinion, couch surfing brings people together on another level that requires trusting others, something that a lot of people have seem to forgotten how to do. That's why this is so great!

Ines' birthday dinner with Alejandro (couch surfer from Venezuela), Sandy (friend from school), and Francesca

View of Ville Franche - 15 minutes from Nice

Plaza Massena - the main square of Nice

1 comment:

  1. France is a great place! I'm guessing that you are having a fun time studying in your school. It must have been very daunting to find yourself in a foreign country all by yourself. I admire you for your bravery and courage to take great risks. It's a good thing too that you immediately find new friends. Hoping to hear more from you!