Life in Grenoble: one student’s account after a year in France

Grenoble may not be in the top 3 biggest city in France, but it is one of the leading European cities in terms of high-tech industries. The city is famous for the higher education systems which means there are a lot of young students here…

galeries-lafayette

I had to get myself an apartment to live in before I came here. But there are more students but not residents meaning finding a place to live isn’t easy. When I searched online, I started to realize the cost of living is much more expensive than in China (500-600 euros on average per month in France). But luckily, all the people can get the allowance from the government (170 euros for my apartment per month), which means less financal burden. This was the first time I realized how does equality, or égalité, works on everybody in France.

market

Shopping at the local market

Right after I was settled down, I became deeply fascinated by the peaceful lifestyle here. The bright blue sky, the slow moving tramway, the various buildings with different styles…I feel like I am walking in the utopia of my dream. I spend serval days rambling around the city. Take a walk along the tramway, participate in a local fair…Everything seems to be so interesting and curious.

tramway

Taking a stroll down the tramway

But that feeling didn’t last forever. When I started to attend class at GEM, life appeared to be hard for me. First and the most difficult part here is the language. I thought my French level was good enough, which turned out to be wrong because I  wasn’t able to follow the teacher during class. In addition, teamwork seemed to be mandatory in every class. But I could barely understand what my teammates were talking about, not to mention discussing with them in French. Luckily, my classmates enthusiastically helped me. They gave me their notes and answered my questions so patiently. 3 girls and I become friends really quickly. We went outside and had dinner together, and they even invited me to their house for a party, which I never expected.

class-photo

I also want to talk about the weather here. I felt cold nearly all the time except summer. What has surprised me most is that people wear their down jackets a lot – even in April!!! I also found out that it rains a lot, which made me unhappy, because I am a girl who yearns for the brilliance of the sun all the time. How I wish every day is a sunny day in Grenoble.

Even though I don’t like the cold, I still love the nighttime view here, especially the Christmas markets, which I was very curious about because we don’t celebrate Christmas in China. At the market, I found so many novel things – for eating, for using, for giving…Wandering around at the fair was really a great pleasure.

christmas-market

The Christmas markets in Grenoble

Apart from what I’ve mentioned, Grenoble is also famous for its ski resorts nestled in the surrounding mountains. Grenoble hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics. Our school gives students a one-week holiday for us to enjoy the joyful activity of skiing. A little regret here is that I haven’t gone skiing yet, but I will try some time later.

One year has already flown by so quickly. How I wish I could stay here long enough to see every aspect of this city and this country!

(By Anjie Pei)

Anjie is a recipient of the CMIRA Grant this year.

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