April 5, 2014, by Guest blog

Reflecting on the connections I’ve made in France

Since my last blog, things have been pretty great. The sun is back in force which has made everyone happy (and some people far too excited, I went to the beach a couple of weekends ago!…). Bordeaux is surrounded by beaches and Montalivet was as beautiful as the rest of them. It is a shame that a storm has destroyed the beach and some of it is closed off to the public. (With good reason, to get to the actual beach, we had to slide down a sand cliff to get to the sea….)

French friendsWith things coming to an end, it is already April and having to say a few goodbyes, it has had me reflecting on the sort of connections I’ve made since I’ve been here.

My job (or more the company where I work) welcomes Erasmus students and participants to Bordeaux, finds them internships and accommodation and helps them with any issues they may have once they were here. My job involves meeting these students when they arrive, and assisting with their ‘WELCOME TO BORDEAUX’ meeting but this week was the first time I had to say goodbye to some of them. I found that I had actually unknowingly become attached to some of them (we are a similar age so they liked to ask me where I go out and what I really get up to in Bordeaux), and I’ve had to contact them to find out how they are or to test some of the other European projects that I am involved with. I was really touched when one of them came and hugged me and said thank you!

A lot of my Erasmus experience has panned out like this. It has relied on me, coming completely out of my shell and just making connections with people at random. Like my best friend last semester, I met in the airport whilst waiting for our taxi to pick us up. I find myself taking every opportunity I can, to speak (in French if possible) and try and learn something about someone else.

Last week, I went to an important partners meeting in Rome to discuss one of the European projects called QUEST that I French buildingam working on. QUEST encourages small and micro companies to take on interns and trainees. Walking into that room was daunting, and my boss left me to my own devices to mingle with the partners. Everyone in the room was pretty welcoming, but I made an instant connection with another girl who was an intern in Sheffield but was French by way of Amsterdam. We had such a great time together, when I’m going to Amsterdam next month, we are going to meet up again.

Whilst my random encounters have been exciting and often strange, I do find myself getting closer to my work colleagues (Rome especially gave us a chance to get to know each other in a non-work or pressurised setting) and my housemates. I do my find myself wondering though, when this is all over in around two and a half months, will these people I’ve met still coexist with my life in England? I will be happy to see the back of our weird landlord but as for my housemates, and work colleagues and all the friends I made at the business school, I’m not so sure….

Posted in Making connections