Sorry I haven’t written since my arrival! I have been so busy getting used to my new daily life and schedule. Last weekend, only a day after my arrival in France, I went to Tours for an orientation weekend.
I spent Friday night exploring the downtown area with some friends. We went on a ferris wheel and I was able to see the entire city in lights!
Saturday and Sunday were spent exploring four famous Chateaux in the Loire Valley: Amboise, Chenonceau, Chambourd, and Blois. On some of them, we had guided visits, which was helpful for learning more about their history. Walking around the gardens and interior of buildings older than the United States was one of the coolest experiences of my life. My favorite chateau by far was the Chateau de Chenonceau, which inspired Walt Disney!
Monday to Friday of the following week was spent getting more acclimated to Nantes and IES through various orientation sessions. We learned about safety, health, transportation, classes, and just about anything else you can think of. We spent some time getting a tour of the area and various places we might need, like the post office and grocery store. We took a test on Monday to be placed into our French language class at IES and spent Wednesday through Friday having grammar review classes. It wasn’t my favorite part of orientation but it was definitely helpful. Friday was spent choosing the classes to take at the IES center and at the University of Nantes. Classes begin on Monday and I can’t wait!