Honesty, so far, Bordeaux has been a whirlwind. Upon arrival into Bordeaux, I can say that the world felt a little bit larger due to the abundance of the unknown at the time. So many new faces, places, smells, sounds, and different expectations for social life. After finally figuring out where the taxis line up at the airport, he loaded up my suitcases, and just like that we were off going towards my new home for 4 months. It all feels like it happened in the matter of seconds, even though I know it took around 30 minutes to travel to my apartment.
While traveling to the future apartment, watching the walls and graffiti whiz by, I was able to think about how quickly everything in life can change with just a few plane rides. What I was used to at home; the friendly faces that frequently knew me because of growing up in the college town, and the ability to explain directions like I had an atlas in my head, was all swept out from under the rug and suddenly I was on the flip side of the equation. Taking in everything definitely took some time, but due to my host being extremely helpful, I can now say that I could give a tourist directions around Bordeaux if they needed it. All the way from across the globe and I can say that I feel like a local without the fluency. Though I am not anywhere near fluent in French, I can honestly say that it hasn’t caused any problems for me so far. I have been able to find medicine by talking to the pharmacist in a bit of “franglish” and even was able to communicate with the local doctor without any trouble; you’d be surprised how many people know English, but it is crucial that you at least try to first communicate in the local language to get the help you need.
There are some absolutely outstanding architecture works in Bordeaux, and living close to Victoire, luckily put me at walking distance to a large portion of them. Places like the Basilica of St. Michel, Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux, and Château Descas, are just a 5-10 minute walk away, with the traditional white stone buildings to look at during your stroll along with plenty of options to stop for a glass of wine or beer or even grab a snack along the way. Bordeaux itself has set the record for the ratio of restaurants per person, which explains the abundance of food options ranging from Nigerian and Vietnamese to French and Irish. There is no doubt that what ever you might be craving, is available within either just a few minutes’ walk, or the frequently used Deliveroo or UberEats.
Along with great views and the outstanding variety of food options, Bordeaux is also located within just a few hours to San Sebastian, Spain; Biarritz; Arcachon, and many other breathtaking coastal cities. Though I’m not overly fond of the coast, I have been able to travel to the historical city of Saint-Émilion, Cognac, London, and just recently Dublin; all of which were absolutely magnificent and just needed around 2 to 3 hours of travel time. The real reason I ventured to Bordeaux though, wasn’t due to the closeness of prime travel destinations (it was just a huge plus), was the business school. My experience with KEDGE has its own mix of emotions. Though I have enjoyed my course material, the location itself reminds me of my home high school instead of the vast university we have at home. With the university essentially being contained “within four walls”, I have definitely felt a bit disconnected with natural elements like the quad or Marrs spring. If you are contemplating KEDGE and enjoy being able to walk out and see large trees and green grass, I’m not sure that KEDGE will give you the environment you need. On a positive note, I have been able to enjoy the set up of courses, with doing two 1.5hr sessions each day for one course, we are able to have most of the day outside of the university unless there is a group meeting. The actual coursework and work load is dependent upon the groups you get allocated to; my group in some courses are great help and have amazing communication skills, but in some groups, I have had to do the entire project by myself due to the misunderstanding during the class because it is taught in English. Overall, I would rate my experience based on my own preferences with KEDGE as a 4/10 because most of the events planned correlate with the “party” type personality and not the other group types.
At the end of the day, I do have a count down to return home and am happy as those numbers dwindle down, but this is mainly due to the fact that I have everyone I love at home and three extremely goofy dogs that bring more joy to me than this city or any city ever will. I have enjoyed the little thing Bordeaux has to offer, like the quirky tourist with bold accents guessing what things are, the fresh market smells that waft through my window in the mornings, and the way the streets are covered with expressions of oneself through the graffiti; but when the time comes, I will happily depart from Bordeaux and make my way back to little ole Northport.
One thing I will miss are the sunsets reflecting off the white stone and turning the whole world pink in a matter of fleeting seconds.