So here I am, sitting in the Cigar office and trying to write my first article. My name is Pascale, I’m from France and I have the heavy task of replacing Ellen for the international student column. Here is the thing- Ellen was one of my closest friends from fall semester and she was really talented. So Ellen, may you be with me as my hands are typing these words.

Now let me introduce myself a little bit more. I study in Sciences Po, a political sciences school in France and for our junior year we have to study abroad. “But why URI?” everybody is asking me. I know I know… Why did I choose to spend one year in Rhode Island, in a campus in the middle of nowhere?

Well, my first motivation is that I wanted to go the USA, the land of freedom, self-made man and all that things we hear in Europe. Because no, French people do not hate Americans (at least not all of them.) Then, I wanted to experience the true American campus life as we don’t have anything like that in France.

My school is only focused on political sciences, there are no more than 1,000 students and there is just one building in the middle of the city. There is no dorm, everyone lives in their own apartment all over the city. If someone asks me what my major is, I would probably answer “political sciences” even if I have economy, law, sociology, history and languages classes in France. So yes, that’s really different.

Do I like it here? So far I can say that I enjoy my American life. Americans are nice, polite (why don’t French guys hold the door for you?!) and very helpful. However, life gets tough if you don’t have a car. I miss living in the city, with everything you need at a walking distance. Crossing the street to go to the groceries, wandering around the city, crawling bars every Thursday night, going to the market on Saturday and eating a Galette-Saucisse (typical crepe sandwich from Brittany). I miss the French food, especially the cheese, obviously. I do find French cheeses here but they’re three times the price as back home. ($8 for a small piece of goat cheese, really ?)

What I certainly miss the most is having my friends and family around. But that’s what all the experience is about and I do not regret it.