October 19, 2013, by Guest blog

Making friends in Montpellier

From the airplane window I saw the south of France, the coastline, the beach, the blue sky, the sun. For so long I had waited for this moment. It was amazing finally arriving in my new hometown for the next 8 months.

Luckily I met three other English assistants at the airport in Montpellier who were also staying at the same hostel as I was, so I wasn’t completely thrown into a real culture shock.

First stop in Montpellier from the airport was our student hostel, La Noria. Wasn’t the nicest of places I’ve stayed in but for 5 Euros a night we got what we paid for. The mediocre room that I shared with Sarah (the other assistant) was ok but it was the smelly dirty toilets and grimy showers with no hot water, which bothered me. On top of this, the kitchen only had a microwave and a small fridge, so we either didn’t eat well on some days or spent a lot on eating out. However, this all made me more determined to find a place of my own as soon as possible.

Despite the negatives of La Noria, there was a real ambiance of culture, with students from all over Europe and North Africa. It was great getting to know other students who were in the same position as myself as a foreigner.

My first night in Montpellier was welcoming as we had Allegra (another assistant who had arrived a week earlier than myself and Ben) to show us around town. She then introduced us to an ex assistant from last year, Angela, who loved her year abroad in Montpellier so much that she decided to stay another year and do a masters. She was great, as she introduced us to her French friends and took us out for our first experience of the French student nightlife. It’s different to the student nightlife in England and I found the French students of Montpellier so friendly and interested in me coming from England. So I guess my mission of making friends in France was easily done.

The next morning I started my search for accommodation online in McDonalds for the wifi. After four stressful days of making phone calls in French and viewing all sorts of apartments, some too expensive, some too small, others being in dodgy areas, Ben, Sarah (my fellow English assistants) and I found an apartment for three in Castelnau-le-lez. It’s perfect, in a private residence in a nice neighbourhood surrounded by palm trees, with a mini supermarket and bakery 5minuntes down the road and 10mins from the city centre by tram. We decided to make the quick decision to take it. All the signing and paper work was done within a day and we moved in. Like I said, I didn’t want to spend much more time in La Noria.

Posted in First impressions