First Week of Besançon

Check out how rising sophomore Sydni Jean’s first week of classes in Paris went.

First week of class= success.

I currently reside in Besançon, France, which is about three hours away from Paris. For the first few days in Besançon, I have been trying to adjust to the language, food and customs.

Even though I have been here for about a week now, I see a lot of bizarre differences in French and American culture. One thing that I am really grateful for is my host family. They really spoil me a lot with all of the food, taking me different places, and doing my laundry. They are really nice people who make me laugh and feel comfortable around them. My french class is strange because I thought that there would be more Americans going to the school (CLA), but there’s not. Everyone in my class is older, 26 and above and they are also from different countries. I find it interesting learning about the cultural differences within my own class. Most people in the class do not speak English, so literally we only communicate in French.

France itself is an interesting culture. There are so many small differences that I faced when I just walked around and went out to the club, or discotheque as they would call it. The French people dress really nice every day. I have not seen one person just casually walking around with yoga pants, leggings or sweatpants unless they are working out. Here, it would be bizarre to go to school with yoga pants or anything of that nature. Also, everything here is smaller. The cups are smaller, the plates are smaller, and the portions are smaller, but don’t be fooled. Even though the portions are smaller, they still feed you a lot of food, it is just different dishes. So  a typical meal would have the appetizer and bread, salad, one dish, and then other dish. Lastly, we would eat bread with cheese and dessert. It is really a lot, and you may get full off of all the wine that they continue to offer you to drink.

Lastly, going out is  fascinating. The French do not drink alcohol to get really drunk or hammered to have a good time. They usually just casually drink and definitely can get drunk off of wine because the wine is very very strong, since it has a lot of alcohol content. At the discotheque, it is so strange because you will see people of all ages there. I am pretty sure I saw an old lady getting it on and showing her moves on the dance floor. It shows that the club or discotheque is really just for dancing and having a few drinks, but it was really fun.

French men are also very aggressive. At night when I was walking with my friend to head over to another friend’s house, a guy slammed a girl on the wall and started making out with her. I was so shocked and confused, but my friend and I started dying of laughter, because it was a hilarious scene. The French are super blunt and will tell you upfront how they feel and if they want you or not. This guy came up to me and told me I was beautiful (that’s cute) and then got weird and called me his girlfriend. He also kept kissing my hand, which is something guys in the States would never do. It got creepy because the guy kept following all of my friends, but it was really interesting.


France has been really interesting so far and I cannot wait to see more of this town and of this country!

About Submissions (13 Articles)
Submissions are reader-submitted posts from those within the Penn State community. Submissions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Underground staff.

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