Posted by Julie

Needless to say, touching down in France was an exciting experience. Strangely enough, hulking tubes of metal flying through the air around 600 miles per hour are not generally my thing, but an even more pressing emotion was the excitement of arriving in a new place. Everything becomes an adventure when abroad – even traversing the airport.

My day, though typically over several hours before we landed, was far from over, as there was luggage to collect, a bus to find and catch, and a dorm to move into. Thankfully, all of those steps went seamlessly. If anything can be said about the whole process, it’s that after twenty-five years, all the lovely people at Georgia Tech-Lorraine know what they’re doing.

And after twenty-five years, they’re still welcoming and excited to help us. A pizza party was held in our honor upon our arrival, and a welcoming party the next day. My favorite part of the last few days, though, was the donation free-for-all; I think its existence really shows how much thought they have put into the program – and how much they do to make things easier for the students. Uprooted from home, where we have built our lives already, and leaving on a jet plane, it’s hard to take some things with the limiting factors. We could definitely drop one hundred euro easily on prepping our rooms just with the basic necessities – from hand soap to loose-leaf paper – but they have organized a program to ease that pain.

"La politesse" reigned at the GTL-dorm equipment-free-for-all

“La politesse” reigned at the
 GTL-dorm equipment-free-for-all

The donation session consisted of a room chocked full of donations from previous students – anything they couldn’t or just didn’t want to bring back home. The tables and floor were covered with everything from fancy bowls to laundry basket and drying racks to fans and hair dryers to old textbooks and school supplies. Nearly everything that any student could dream of having was sitting in this land of plenty, and we had two minutes to select all that we wanted (i.e., all that we could carry). I’ve never been hardcore Black Friday shopping, but I would imagine this invoked a similar sentiment – though everyone was gracious and no one started brawling over items.

Now that the adrenaline has waned, though, it’s time to settle into classes for the semester. I’ve already heard great things about course topics and teachers, and we’re only through our first full day! Here’s to a fulfilling semester for all of our goals, whether academic, experiential, travel-oriented, cultural, or otherwise.