5 February 2019
Check out our guest blog from Anandi Shah a Modern Languages student who was abroad at Bordeaux Michel Montaigne 3 for term 1. Read on to find out how she got on at Bordeaux!
Bordeaux… The mere name conjures fleeting images of picturesque meandering roads, aromas of local cuisine and sounds of the clinking of wine glasses…
Perhaps not a place one might choose for an Indian vegetarian non-alcoholic student!!
Having said that, Bordeaux turned out to be the best choice I ever made!
The city of Bordeaux blew my expectations. The city centre was charming and beautiful. The ubiquitous beige buildings seemed to literally illuminate the streets even on a cloudy day and the quaint street lamps seemed to belong to a different era. You can find the high street Rue Sainte Catherine, which is the longest pedestrian high street in Europe and it certainly lived up to its reputation!
Many a time was spent eating ice cream by the river and the aptly named Grand Théâtre ensconced a beautiful neo-Classical opera theatre, which I was able to see via a free tour – some of the various activities available to enjoy!
The main form of public transport is trams, that unlike the typical delayed underground locomotives of London, operate on time, with great fares and provide pleasant views of the city whilst manoeuvring through the streets.
Being a vegetarian, I was not expecting much in terms of gastronomic fare, but I was pleasantly surprised at some of the options I was able to savour. Italian restaurants are in abundance and are definitely worth visiting every now and again – even though it may leave you slightly out of pocket! Although, I was able to find an Indian restaurant just outside of the city with food at decent prices – somewhere I felt Bordeaux had especially tucked away for me!
The beginning of September meant only one thing: term-time! The notion of French institutions is always daunting, but the staff were very welcoming at Bordeaux Michel Montaigne 3 – despite the almost foreboding name! They always made sure we knew how everything was structured and made alterations tailored to us when it came to exam season.
I selected modules that had been similar to skills I had learnt from courses in UCL. However the most important course I took, that enabled me to go beyond my comfort zone was a singing class. Inconspicuously named ‘Atelier’, which means Workshop, I almost missed it on the computer screen when choosing my courses! The teacher was wonderfully welcoming, even though she never had Erasmus students in her classes and ensured I was comfortable and treated me with the same regard as the French students.
I learnt folk songs in Greek, Spanish (very useful, since I also study Spanish), Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, French and I even revisited an old song in English – Greensleeves, which I was graciously asked to teach to the students.
I thoroughly recommend pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, as that is the only way to learn and develop – and make great memories!
I even sneaked into a university salsa class, which remains one of my best memories till date.
I have not had many opportunities to live abroad and for the first timers amongst you, I can honestly say Bordeaux is the best place to study – everything is within easy reach, the local people are friendly and the way of life is not as hasty as it is in England. In Bordeaux, people make time for the more important things – even if it means sitting and sipping a coffee outside a Brasserie!
As the sun bade me a warm farewell and the plane soared high above the city of Bordeaux, I made a promise to myself: Bordeaux, je reviendrai = Bordeaux, I will return.
By Anandi Shah