When it comes to French fashion, there is often an assumption that in order to “fit in” one must be dressed for the runway, all day every day. (Even for running errands to the market or class.) For a city like Paris, I might agree. But, for my beloved Aix, this is actually not the case!  To be honest,  I was surprised at what I found upon my arrival. See, before departing for France, I had read and referenced several blogs to better under what the fashion scene…

Housing, housing, housing. Bien sur, c’est tres importante! (Of course, it is very important!) After all, you will be living in your respective city for the span of (at least) three or four months. So before allowing your past experiences (terrible roommate, loud hall, etc.) to cloud your initial thoughts on housing, please read below. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you come to find. One of the many great things about CEA is that you are given options in terms of housing. Before arriving, you have…

Turning to wave goodbye to my parents one last time, I take in the sight. My dad, as usual, is cool, calm and collected. My mother, wiping away one last tear, grins and waves incessantly. Their baby girl is off to take on the world! Of course, I’ll miss them. But, as the woman sitting behind the checkpoint asks for my identification and boarding pass, a small smile plays on my lips. I glance over my shoulder to give my parents a final, reassuring grin, and repositioning my…

It has been a month since returning to the USA, and it has been a whirlwind of emotions and trials trying to get used to my own culture again. To be honest, some of it has been pretty rough and it has taken a lot longer to get used to than I thought. I had been told many things about coming home while I was abroad; things that I should be prepared for. I was told that I would feel like an outsider to my own culture– that…

On the weekend of February 20, my fellow CEA Aix-en-Provence students and I went to visit Nice for the day and Monaco for the night. The Cote d’Azur is a magically beautiful and enchanting place. Cote d’Azur is so accurately named:  I have never seen this color water blue before. My fellow CEA students and I basked in the the strong Mediterranean sun while we watched the water lap over the warm, rocky shore. After, we went to the Bataille de Fleurs, which is a fantastical and whimsical…

Graduation is upon me. In a year and a couple months I will be graduating from the University of Miami in southern Ohio. The thought of this makes my head dizzy and my stomach churn. If I have learned anything from studying abroad in Southern France, it is that one is never done learning: I am not even close.     During my short time in Aix-en-Provence, I have found that there is so much more to discover. This semester abroad has inspired me to learn more languages and…

On Friday March 15, 2013, several CEA students and I took a half an hour trip from the centre ville of Aix-en-Provence to the countryside of southern France.  We visited a goat farm and were lucky enough to indulge in some homemade provincial goat cheese! Tout va bien dans le sud de la France! The entrance of the goat and fromage (cheese) farm fellow CEA members and I visited this past week. The beautiful countryside of Provence is full of vineyards that grow grapes for wine among other…

After having studied French language and literature for about seven years throughout high school and college I thought I knew a lot about French culture until I arrived in France.  However, I have learned since being here that reading Baudelaire and Sartre and watching a handful of la nouvelle vague films does not prepare one to deal with the differences between cultural differences of Americans and the French.  I have found during my two months here in Aix-en-Provence that just because I speak French, wear black clothes and…

Follow me as I show you around the apartment I’ve been living in this semester in Aix-en-Provence. Maxine Gordon is the Spring 2013 CEA MOJO in Aix-en-Provence, France

Many of the most valuable lessons we learn are not products of the classroom but, in fact, are acquired in a much more organic manner.  The formal classroom environment has given me the necessary grammatical and linguistic background to communicate effectively in French but much of what I have learned about French language and culture has been in an array of different settings.  Active learning is especially important for me here in France.  I have never been so engaged in my environment than I have been here in…