I’m Yvena Lesperance, a second year studying at ESSEC Business School in France. I'm currently in Vienna with classmate Ipsita (on exchange at IE) and headed to Munich in a few hours!
This is week five of our exchange program and I can’t believe we’re halfway through. I have classes twice a week in Cergy, France - which is about a 40 minute train ride from central Paris. The commute has given me plenty of time to catch up on my reading – one of my resolutions for 2016!
Currently in rotation is a beauty I picked up from Shakespeare & Company,https://shakespeareandcompany.com/ "The Black Count". This book is about the life of Thomas-Alexandre Dumashttp://harvardmagazine.com/2012/11/vita-alexandre-dumas; father of the author of the "Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo". Dumas, born in present day Haiti, had the unique perspective of being part of both the highest and lowest echelons of society. He later served as a General in Napoleon’s army and was described as one of the best soldiers in the world. Highly recommend the book, especially for my history buffs out there!
Besides commuting to Cergy, I've taken full advantage of being on this side of the world. Some of my favorite memories since have been traveling to Lagos, Toledo and New Delhi with our Kellogg crew in tow.
Though being abroad can be tiring and expensive, I think it is absolutely worth it. I’ve become more culturally savvy, finally decoding international mysteries such as the infamous Indian headshake, ha-ha!
I’ve also enjoyed this quiet space (sorta) outside the b-school bubble to slow down, reflect and find joy in everyday moments. Roaming among natives, tasting the local fare, stumbling onto quirky streets and corners – those have been my best experiences. No agenda, just patience and an open mind.
To follow Montoya’s lead from the previous blog post, I’ll end with some random observations about living in France:
The French are very proud of their language - as it was the universal business language until WWI. If you visit, at a minimum learn the basics. It will go a long way with how helpful you perceive French people to be J
France (well Europe in general) is very green. Most people take the metro, dry their clothes on a rack and have motion-sensor lighting in their home and office buildings.
Paradoxically, smoking is very socially accepted. It's easy to see how most people get addicted. I'm usually the non-smoker within a group of Parisians.
The major music channel is very international. Adele, Drake, David Guetta and Mr. Fetty Wap are regulars on the screen. Though, per government policy, 40% of the music played must feature French artists. I've particularly enjoyed tunes from Kery James and Lefa!
Bread, coffee and red wine are staples in the French diet. I seriously have all these things multiple times a day. Thank goodness for our six floor walk-up apartment!
That’s all for today folks! Keep up with me on my blog: http://yvenalesperance.blogspot.com/, I’ll be writing more about my #KelloggAbroad16 adventures!