Bonjour Bordeaux!

Place de la bourse, popular spot for students to picnic and party at
Place de la bourse, popular spot for students to picnic at

Bonjour! Ca va? I’ve been in Bordeaux for three weeks now and I’m like it here ten times more than I would have ever imagined. Did you Know? 1810 hectares of Bordeaux is listed as a World Heritage site. There are a lot of beautiful buildings here from the 18th century, which makes the city a really nice place to stroll around. This is great because since I’ve been in France I’ve literally been eating baguettes, cheese, patissieries every single day. Strolling and biking around the city has certainly help me keep fit. Because Bordeaux is a lot smaller than Paris and Sydney, I thought I would grow bored quickly, but it is still a relatively large city and there’s actually so much to do here! The city apparently has the longest pedestrian walkway, called Rue Saint Catherine which is full of shops- Zara, H&M, Mango etc. On Sundays, there’s also a lovely markets around the city, one being a market along the Garonne river bank. Bordeaux is also what they call here a ‘student city’, which means there’s lots of universities around the area. You can actually see a lot of students everywhere as you walk down the streets here- sort of like walking around University mall at UNSW. That also means, every single night there’s some sort of party going on- definitely won’t ever get bored.

Then during the day, when I have a day off uni, I would sometimes travel with other ERASMUS students or my host family to close by places like Saint Emillion, Biarritz etc. Saint Emillion, is a little town with the yummiest canneles, macarons and has lots and lots of wine. The old buildings in the town are kept very well and you feel like you’re walking through a fairy tale. Definitely will recommend this place if you come to Bordeaux. And if you’re missing the beaches in Sydney, Biarritz is the place to go! Bordeaux is in the South West of France, along the coast, and is about an hour or two drive away from the beaches. I’ve only been to Biarritz, which is a popular place to surf, but there are other lovely beaches close by like Lacanau and Arcachon Bay.

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Saint Emillion

The downside to staying in Bordeaux is that it isn’t as easy to travel to places such as London, Brussels, Copahagen etc. since you will usually have to go through Paris to do so. However, it’s extremely close to the Spanish border, so you can easily go down there for the weekend. Just before uni started, I tagged along with a couple of German people who drove down to Bordeaux on a road trip to San Sebastian. It’s a lovely Spanish town by the coast with lots and lots of yummy tapas. Tip: get an international driver’s licence before you go! Or just find friends who can drive.

Melting Potes, intergration day
Melting Potes, intergration day

Lastly, no matter where you go, I think the most important thing is that you enjoy being where you are. And I’m doing exactly just that at KEDGE Business School. It is quite a small university in comparison to UTS, so you will always run into someone you know as you walk around the school.The school offers a number of english courses, so alot of the French students here are pretty good at English too. Everyone is so friendly and helpful as I stumble over my French all the time. When I first arrived here, there was an association called Melting Potes that was ran by some French students. It aided lots of students to find housing and organised various events, for example ‘intergration day’ to help exchange students get to know each other. A good way to get to know more french students and make the most of your exchange is to join a student association. There are also alot of clubs and associations you can join- including a wine association that organises weekly trips to wineries around Bordeaux. Unlike UTS, where you have multiple sport clubs to sign up for, there is just one sport association here, but once you join the club, you have access to unlimited sport activities that they have to offer – basketball, futsal, martial arts, swimming and even horse riding! I’m starting my first lesson later this week and I’m pretty excited! I’m enjoying coming to university here and would recommend Bordeaux for exchange!

Vanessa Chow

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