Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Arrival in Grenoble

I have done a lot of thinking about how I've wanted to structure this blog. Before I left for France last week, I had never really made a blog before. I have created a blog that I have been updating frequently since my arrival in Grenoble however I feel as though the elaborate detail of each and every day may not be as appropriate to share with the Clarkson community. I'm not saying that it has anything bad in it, it just goes far more in depth than people outside of my family or close friends may be interested in. That being said... If you are interested in reading my more detailed account of my days in Grenoble, you are more then welcome to do so. Here is the link ---> http://cynthiakent.blogspot.fr/

Although some of the information and photos will inevitably overlap, I will be focusing more on the broader information so let's see how this goes!

I arrived in Grenoble last tuesday, January 7th after traveling for many, many hours. Due to the unfortunate weather we were having on Monday the 6th many of the flights traveling throughout the East Coast were delayed or being canceled. Despite the delays on both my flights from Albany and Philadelphia, I managed to arrive in Paris only 15 minutes later than our scheduled arrival. I took a taxi from the airport to the train station and from there took a 3 hour high speed train from Paris to Grenoble.

Throughout my first week I got lost and frustrated with the language barrier and suffered most nights from horrible jet lag. I finally was able to get medicine to help me sleep with assistance from my friend Rohit (in the masters program from India) who speaks a little French. My apartment is on the outskirts of the city about a 20 minute walk from Grenoble Encole de Management (GEM). Rohit took me on a couple of walking tours of the city over the past weekend, so I am finally starting to learn how to navigate my way around Grenoble.

Over the past few days I have made the decision to rent a bike while I am here. I plan to pick it up tomorrow. Apart from the deposit the price isn't too bad especially if I am saving money by not purchasing the tram pass each month. The cost for a bike for 3 months is the same as one month for the tram! Having a bike will make my journey to and from school and town much better. Unfortunately, people have problems with having bikes stolen frequently in Grenoble so the chance of me losing my deposit is relatively high. My apartment has an underground storage for bikes though so at least it will be safe at night!

For our first week GEM planned 5 days of orientation before the start of classes. On Friday we were given a written and oral French proficiency exam to place us in the proper level course for the semester. We will be meeting every Tuesday to work on our French, which I am really looking forward to. I am a complete beginner so I'm really looking forward to learning the language. On Monday the entire January intake group was taken to go bowling. We all had a blast playing and making some new friends at the same time. It is incredible how many different people I have met from all around the world. My closest friend here, Isabelle, is from Sweden. I have met two other people from Sweden as well, and also students from Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, France, China, India, Nicaragua, Germany, Korea, and Syria to name a few (haha).

On Tuesday we started classes. From Tuesday until next Monday I have a class called Business Development in Emerging Economies. We meet every day from 9:45 AM until 1:00 PM. After we give presentations on Monday we have completed the course lectures. We will have a 'portfolio' due at a later date which is worth 70% of our grade; the presentations are worth 30%. Our professor for this course is Polish but lives in London. It's interesting having such a short class packed with so much information. At 8 AM this morning I had my first lecture for International Business Law. The professor is from France originally but did part of her law school education in the states. She decided that she preferred the American method of teaching and is going to use it throughout the semester. Unlike my other course, this one will last throughout the entire semester and include a wider range of evaluations including homework, class participation, and exams.

Every day is completely different from the day before and I'm excited every morning to wake up and learn something new!

 -Cynthia


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