Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Bienvenue à Lyon!

As most of you who know me are aware, I study French and Italian at University College London. In third year, we have to spend a year abroad either working or taking part in a university exchange. I opted to go for university exchanges in Lyon, France, and Bologna, Italy. I know a lot of people blog about their year abroad experiences, so please don't feel you have to read these posts, but if you like me enough to want to know what I'm doing, welcome to my year abroad blog! :)

I've been in Lyon for ten days now, and I have to say I'm quite happy to be back in the city I lived in for nearly four months back in 2011. Last time, I was studying at ESL language school and living with a lovely host family in a place called Cuire. This time, I'll be studying at Université Jean Moulin Lyon III, and living in a little studio room in a residence not far from La Guillotière - about half way between my university and the Rhône, one of Lyon's two rivers.

The Rhône
I moved into my room last Monday with the help of my sister, and said goodbye to her at the train station just hours later. From then, it was a case of same old Lyon. It was strange to be back. I was walking down streets I already knew, hearing an accent I was already familiar with and seeing sites I was already well-acquainted with. To be honest, coming on this year abroad was the last thing I wanted to do, but being back in the city I have loved and missed for three years has made it all much more bearable. I know this city, I know it's people and culture and I know how to get various bits and pieces essential for everyday life and where the best places are. Perhaps this year isn't going to be so bad after all...

I've spent the last week at integration/orientation sessions and classes at the university and I've met most of the international students who have also come here on exchange. They are a lovely bunch of people from every corner of the globe: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Colombia...the list goes on. We've been drinking wine by the Saône (the city's second river), drinking beer in a Danish bar, eating ice cream in Vieux Lyon (the old town), and getting to grips with French bureaucracy together (yes, we do other things besides eat and drink!)

River Saône
That moves me onto the next thing...paper work! I've never been so frustrated in my life. To get my student card I needed to prove I have Civil Liability Insurance, to get that I needed to open an account with a French bank, to do that I needed to get proof of residence...for the past week I have been swimming in a sea of documents and have been sent from pillar to post to find everything. Thankfully, I can now say I have overcome France's attempts at demoralisation and come away with a shiny new student card all pretty with a multi-coloured background...the picture on the other hand is rather awful hence the lack of a photo!!!

I don't want to drag on for ages in my first post, and they won't necessarily be regular either. But for all those who were forgetting who I was already, I just wanted to let you all know I've made it past four days, all bets are off!

I'll leave you with a lovey picture of my university!

Jean Moulin Lyon III - Manufacture des Tabacs campus

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