Salut France, Salut Mon Année d’Échange!

Bonjour à tous!

As you already know, I am now in France (never thought i would say this) experiencing my super duper exciting exchange year in a program called Youth For Understanding, and as a decent exchange student, i am now trying to keep a blog, writing everything that i encounter in this once-in-a-lifetime experience — HAHA no, kidding, i do actually want to write a blog as i consider this as an exercise in writing and in being productive, and also probably as my only outlet to express my opinions and feelings *curhat alert*. I am also going to divide it into some parts, because it has actually been almost a month since i arrived in France, and therefore, a lot of things and stories have happened (forgive me for i am the worst procrastinator). Well then, here we go, either you are here for the curiosity or just happen to stumble upon while not having anything to do, enjoy!

YFU France Arrival Orientation

On August 27, after almost 14 hours flight (Jakarta-Singapore-Paris) my plane landed safely in Charles de Gaulle Aéroport Paris at about 8 o’clock in the morning. With tired yet happy face i easily spotted a YFU volunteer with green t-shirt in front of the arrival gate. Veronique welcomed me with a big smile on her face and a warm hug. She was super nice and after i had a little chat with her i found out that i was the first person to arrive. Afterwards, a couple of Australian girls came and soon followed by 20 other kids. I was like WOW, the countries varied from Denmark to Latvia, and even from America to China, in total, there were about 63 kids from 23 different countries. I made some conversation with a couple of American kids, until we were asked to get on the Bus that would take us to the orientation location.

Welcomed by Veronique, the YFU volunteer.

Welcomed by Veronique, the YFU volunteer.

It takes 1 hour and a half to reach Institut Saint Eloi in Bapaume. For 3 days, i had an Arrival Orientation (L’Orientation d’Arrivée) with the other exchange students and the YFU volunteers. The volunteers gave us many many advice about the country France itself, how is French life, the school system, the rules, and even about how to behave as an exchange student. I stayed in a dorm, and i shared my room with 3 other girls, Katrina from Latvia, Anastasia from Germany, and Lotta from Finland. They are all super sweet and friendly, and i had a fun chat with them, talking randomly about our own countries and our feelings (oh girls) on our departure to France.

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A memorial made for an exchange student  who sadly couldn't make it to France.

A memorial made for an exchange student who sadly couldn’t make it to France.

This Arrival Orientation is probably the most memorable experience for me so far. I LOVE talking with other exchange students, asking and discovering about their countries (i don’t even know some of the locations until i start conversing with them), being asked about my home country, and most of all, talking with them have made me realize on how much we actually relate even though we come from different countries. Particularly for me, an Indonesian, who personally have realized on how much my country is still left behind, in terms of the infrastructures quality, and the quality of the people’s mindset, but we’ll get on with that later🙂

On the last night of the orientation, we were all asked to perform on the talent show. At first, feeling ‘talentless’, i preferred to just stay as one of the audience, but i ended up performing The Cup Song + modern dancing with my group and it turns out super fun! The others’ performance are also very interesting and some are even funny and entertaining, ranging from cello playing to playing traditional games.

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With Alice from Thailand and Gabriella from Bulgaria.

With Alice from Thailand and Gabriella from Bulgaria.

Performing Cup Song + Modern Dance + Gymnastic with the group.

Performing Cup Song + Modern Dance + Gymnastic with the group.

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The long-awaited Saturday finally came, the day where we all will meet our host family. We said good bye, and in the same time wishing to see each other again (which we know is nearly impossible). The bus took me to the Montparnasse Train Station in Paris in which the train would take me to the town where i am going to spend a year in, and that is… Tours in the Region Centre.

With Anastasia on the Train to Tours.

With Anastasia on the Train to Tours.

That’s all for the first post, hoping i’m not making you bored to death since i still have plenty of more stories to come🙂

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