Countryside on the way to Metz from Paris.
I have to catch up from the start of my trip, since I just got internet in my room!After much planning and patience for my trip to finally study abroad in rural northeast France, my dreams of traveling to Europe have become a reality. As I write this entry, I am sitting in a classroom auditorium used by French electrical engineering students in Metz, Lorraine, France, listening to the history of the city with 152 other American Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL) students… WOW! The
class is somewhat interesting and it is great to be with friends here,
but my excitement truly comes from finally being in Metz! I am so anxious to interact with the local residents and the French students. There
is so much to notice about the culture, the food, the city, the
architecture, the beautiful countryside, and the lifestyles of the
However, I will begin my journal by describing my day-long journey to France.
The golf course right next to my dorm. I walk on the road through it everyday to class.
For anyone who has not had to fly with luggage for an entire summer, I will be the first to tell you that is very hard to choose what to take. A
lot of preparation merely involved getting my travel documents (VISA,
Passport copies, Eurail train pass, etc.) ready so I could go to Europe. I
also had to fit all my weather-appropriate clothes, books, and
electronics (European compliant) in two suitcases and a backpack. It took me much longer to pack as a minimalist than I expected, so I finished at 6am on Sunday 14th. After a few hours of sleep, off to the airport! While
my parents drove me to the airport, I had to transfer all my clothes
from my larger suitcase into another smaller suitcase that would meet
the flight's luggage restrictions.
This was not a good way to start my long trip. At least I was able to have a nice lunch at the airport's Houlihan's with my mom and dad on Mother's Day.
The Technopole sign at the top of our lake.
My first flight went to Washington Dulles airport, which connected in an hour to my flight to Paris, France. I couldn't sleep more than an hour on the 7h30m 777 flight to Paris because it was not that great for sleeping, but I talked to the people beside me for a while and watched nearly 3 movies. On
my left was a ~30-yr old female writer/activist-group-journalist from
D.C. on another trip to visit her parents, who retired to Paris. On my right was a ~23-yr old exchange student from Munich, Germany getting his Master's on Public Policy related studies at Duke University.
I knew this would only be the beginning of all the interesting people I would meet along my trip. The worst part of the trip was after landing in Paris, because the airport was confusing and congested. Although my flight arrived at 7:30am (Europe Time) on Monday morning (15th),
the 20+ GTL students and I had to wait for the two other flights to
arrive with the other GTL students taking the arranged bus to Metz. Finally at 11am the bus arrived, but it was too small for all 50+ students and our loads of luggage. A bigger bus wasn't even able to hold us all, so 8 of the last students to arrive had to ride a train to Metz instead. The bus finally left the airport, but went in the wrong direction for 25 minutes, wasting another hour of our day. Including a stop for lunch, we finally arrived at Georgia Tech Lorraine at 6pm (a 5+hr trip that should have been 3hrs).
Scenic campus view of the GTL building (on the right).
My dorm room! I have my own bathroom, 10ft tall ceilings, and I'm on the ground floor.
My dorm room is awesome!! I have my own room, and it has a full bathroom. I have had a roommate for the past 2 years with hall community bathrooms, so this is great. The bath is a small tub with a hand-held shower head, which is a lot different than I am used to… I can take bubble baths! Haha. The
rooms do not have air conditioners, but it doesn't matter now because
the weather is perfect (temperature is, but it is frequently cloudy or
GTL held an opening dinner for all the students in our main classroom building the first night, and I checked out the local grocery store (CORA) with my friend Ivan. That
night several friends in my dorm hung out in my room and later some of
us went for a late night walk that quickly ended up in the dorm's
activity hall talking to French students, which I'll explain later. Tonight, Tuesday 16th, all the students will conclude our day of orientations that started at 9am by taking a tour of downtown Metz.