Looking back at my holidays, I had a truly enjoyable summer exchange at the University of Technology of Troyes in France.
Together with the other NTU students, I took two modules, Project Management and European Culture. These classes were conducted with American exchange students from Michigan, Buffalo and Binghamton. Every weekend, the university would also bring us to different places in France to experience the “French” way of living.
Our first weekend was in Paris. We did everything a tourist could possibly do, such as climbing the famous Eiffel Tower. Our experience would have been more enjoyable if the winds weren’t so strong, though!
We also tried the infamous (or famous – I personally liked it a lot) escargot.
Another one of their exotic delicacies – stir-fried frog legs with garlic.
The university also brought us to the city of Evian, next to Lake Geneva. There, we enjoyed a breathtaking sunset.
We had a rather extreme weekend paragliding over the Swiss Alps, whitewater-rafting over the rapids, zip-lining across a waterfall, and rock-climbing over the amazing scenery. And I’m not a very “sporty” person!
Troyes is situated in the Champagne region, which is famous for, surprise, surprise, its champagne. We visited an authentic champagne cellar, a vineyard, a stained glass workshop, as well as a beautiful old castle.
A few friends and I planned to go to Disneyland Paris on our own on one of the Sundays. Disneyland Paris is rumoured to be the most neglected of the Disneyland parks, but I had the best day of my life.
On the last weekend of our exchange, we explored France on our own. A few friends and I travelled to Nice, which is located in southern France. This place is just gorgeous. It is well-known for its world-famous ice-cream, beautiful beaches and flower market! Needless to say, this weekend passed too quickly.
And how can I forget the place we lived in: Troyes. It’s a small and peaceful town. The slow pace of life was something that I really enjoyed. People end work at about 5pm, and most shop owners take a mandatory two-hour lunch break. The last bus to the residential areas is at 8:30pm and it takes an hour to briskly walk back! Nevertheless, I found it such a beautiful place and prettier than Paris.
Making the news
Coincidentally, this year is the 10th anniversary of NTU’s partnership with University of Technology of Troyes. We were invited to meet the mayor of Troyes, and were treated to a sumptuous French dinner. The media were present when we met with the mayor’s representative. We were shocked and surprised to read about our visit in the newspaper the next day. It was a first for most of us, so we were all super excited about making the news in a foreign country.
Great friends in Troyes
I am thankful for the amazing French friends that I’ve made. They made us feel welcome in a foreign land where English is hardly spoken. We appreciate their hospitality and I, for one, cannot wait for them to visit Singapore so that I can show them around!
As much as I miss my French pals, I am happy to be back in NTU with my crazy bunch of classmates. 🙂
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