A Glimpse of Aix

Bonjour from Aix en Provence, France! The first half of the semester has absolutely flown by, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. My time in France this semester has been challenging but rewarding in ways I never knew possible. I’ve loved exploring Aix en Provence this semester and discovering its small town charm. Here are a few of my favorite things about Aix:

The markets: every other day Aix en Provence hosts five grand markets that are spread all over town. Here you can find local fruits and vegetables (some of the best produce I’ve ever eaten!), meats, French cheeses, lavender products (famous from this region), flowers, soaps, clothes, accessories, pottery, baskets, books, and everything else you can imagine. The markets are always full of color and energy. It’s a great place to walk around, people-watch, and learn the local customs.

Pottery Stalls at the Aix Market

Pottery stalls at the Aix market.

The cafes: Aix is home to some of the cutest and coziest cafes I’ve ever been to. There’s one café in particular, called Coco-Boheme, where I love to go on chilly afternoons for a cup of tea while I do my homework. They have over 50 blends of tea to choose from, so it’s fun to try new kinds each time I go. They also make delicious homemade cookies and chocolate fondue (with fresh fruits and marshmallows). Another one of my favorite cafés is called the Book in Bar. This café is filled with all sorts of books in every language imaginable and are free for you to use while you’re there. It’s a great place to grab a warm drink and a nice book (in my native language!) to spend a lazy afternoon.

The large variety of people: Although Aix is fairly small, it is home to several universities that host both local French and foreign students. Many of the universities here are popular choices for politics and business students. Therefore, I have had the pleasure this semester of not only meeting local French and fellow American students, but also students from all over the world. I’ve met students from Romania, Germany, Italy, Spain, England, China, Sweden, Columbia, and many other countries. I love being able to converse with people from different backgrounds and to learn from new perspectives from them.

Jenna Kate Bisbee '19: Aix-en-Provence, France

Jenna Kate Bisbee is an International Relations and French double major from Merrimack, New Hampshire. Jenna will be studying abroad for the fall semester at IAU College in Aix-en-Provence, France with Academic Studies Abroad.

Why did you decide to study abroad?

 I chose to study abroad to not only enhance my language skills, but also to expose myself to different cultures and to try new things. I believe that travel is the ultimate teacher in that it teaches us not only about foreign lands and cultures but also about ourselves.

Jenna Bisbee '19What do you think you’ll miss the most while you’re away from campus?

I think I will miss spending Thanksgiving with my family as well as spending time with my friends on campus throughout the semester.

What obstacles do you think you might encounter abroad?

 I think the language will be a little challenging at first. As a French major, I feel very confident in my ability to speak the language, but living abroad and speaking with the locals really tests your knowledge. However, it’s a challenge that I look forward to as I know it will help me improve my language skills.

What are you bringing with you that you absolutely can’t live without?

 My most important things are my camera and my journal. I keep a journal every time I travel overseas, and it helps to preserve the memories. Over time, I may forget little moments from abroad but my journal and my photos remind me.

What experiences/classes/opportunities have prepared you to go abroad?

My French classes at Saint A’s have prepared me to communicate confidently in France. In addition, I have traveled to Europe many times before so I am very familiar with the culture and the lifestyle.