Since I’ve been in France for over a month, I’ve had plenty of time to settle in. Honestly, everything has gone smoothly thus far, and I haven’t had any major issues. One thing I noticed immediately was that my host institution KEDGE is very different from what I’m used to at Pitt. KEDGE is one large building located in a national park called the Calanques, and it feels more like an American high school than a college. There is a single cafeteria-like dining hall and the student population is small, so it seems like everyone knows everyone. The classes are also different because they are all 3 hours and 15 minutes. Fortunately, I only have classes Tuesday through Thursday, so the long classes have been manageable.
Regarding my living situation, I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. To find my place, I reached out to the Pitt students who studied abroad here last semester. They gave me their landlord’s contact info and after a few French emails I secured a room. I live near the major bus lines and right next to one of the main metro stations, so I have no trouble getting around the city. I live in a beautiful 3-bedroom apartment with an amazing view of Marseille. My room is on the smaller and simpler side, but it has everything I need for a comfortable semester-long stay. It’s clean and cozy and it features a twin-size bed with plenty of drawers, a small white desk, and a stand-alone closet. We even have a cleaning person that comes in 1-2 times a month to tidy everything up. This has really helped us keep the place clean but I was a bit shocked the first time she came. My landlord didn’t tell us a cleaning service was included so I was a bit shocked, to say the least when she walked in on a random morning. Other than that surprise I haven’t had many issues with the place. One thing that could be a challenge down the road is the lack of air conditioning. It’s currently winter so it hasn’t been an issue yet, but I imagine it’ll take some getting used to when the spring rolls around. In terms of my roommate situation, I have one French Canadian roommate who is also a student at KEDGE, and we get along well. The third room is currently unoccupied which has given us some extra breathing room.