Day 5July 1, 2013
On our 5th day here we finally visited our school. Our group spent several hours in the morning at orientation at Euromed Business School (which has recently become Kedge Business School). The building we toured is very modern and even has a room in its library full of beanbag chairs for tired students to take a nap! We received a lot of information about our classes and had a catered lunch on the faculty patio of the school cafeteria. We’ll take the city bus to and from classes each day. It’s about a 40-minute one-way ride from our hotel to school and vice versa. We were given bus/metro cards from our program, so traveling to school every day shouldn’t be an issue.
To explain the next part of my day I need to explain what happened to one of my friends when she flew into Marseille. She had been a part of another study abroad program in Lisbon, Portugal in June and was supposed to fly from Lisbon to Brussels to Marseille. The day she was supposed to leave Lisbon, the airport workers there went on strike. She was stuck in the city for two extra days because the airport still had her luggage and she didn’t want to leave it behind and lose it forever. She finally arrived in Marseille two days late, but the airport had lost her luggage in all of the craziness. It had been two more days since she’d arrived in Marseille, and she still hadn’t gotten her bag. To make matters worse, the airport workers from Brussels then decided to go on strike, so no one was much help with locating her bag. She was getting annoyed with having to wash the same two outfits every night, so I volunteered to find the shopping district with her and help her find some new clothes.
We ended up taking the metro to a stop we knew was a little beyond the shopping district and were then going to walk our way back through the shopping center. It seemed simple enough when we looked at the subway map, but we both had a difficult time orienting ourselves in the right direction once we got off the subway. We had ended up at the correct spot, but were surprised that it was in a much poorer part of town. It took us a few tries to find the shopping center, but we had a neat time seeing the different cultures, especially the different variations of Muslim culture.
By the time we got to the shopping center it was nearly 6:30 or 6:40 and most shops here close at 7:00. We didn’t have enough time to find anything for her to buy there, so we ended up going to the Monoprix by our hotel and finding her a few more clothes. We had walked a lot in the short amount of time we’d been shopping, but it was a nice experience to get to learn more about the metro and see a different part of the city.
When we got back to the hotel around 8:00 Molly and some other students were waiting outside the hotel for an optional activity planned by the French students from Interact. I decided I should go too so I could try to meet some more people on our trip. We ended up going “speed chatting” on the beach. It was like speed dating, but the goal was simply to become acquainted with other students in our program at Euromed. It was fun enough, and I finally met some other people who will be taking French 101 with me.