Monday, January 31, 2022 | Written by Claire
9:30 AM: Bonjour!
As the sunlight starts to filter through the curtains and the deep rumbles of construction pass back and forth outside my window at the Lafayette dorm, I crawl out of bed for my first class of the day. Usually, the cold air outside is crisp, so I need to layer up. Bundled in a hoodie and long jacket, I make my way to the GTL building, a good 10-minute walk away from my dorm. On some days, if you’re lucky, you’ll see a peak of sunlight or a patch of blue skies; but most of the time, it’s just layers of grey clouds.
The GTL Building requires a quick scan of your ISIC card to get through the initial gate and then another tap to open the main doors. The floors themselves are split into different sections, with labs and study rooms on the first floor, and the rest of the classrooms above. The classroom doors are color coded to match the color on the initial schedule you receive at the beginning at the year. Somehow, I usually start in the Blue room, where the CO2 alarm ends up going off every once in and while, so I need to remain bundled in my layers. This mechanism is simply a COVID regulation and nothing too much to worry about.
12:00 PM: Lunchtime.
After my initial class and knocking out some Physics and French homework, it’s time for lunch. Usually, I’m starving by this point. GTL offers meals in the Crous Cafet on the first floor for around three euros, which is usually a hefty plate of pasta. Although I have not gone to the cafeteria often, it seemed to have the same pasta options of pesto or carbonara and a sizzling slice of pizza. The meal itself is mostly carbs and does not come with fruits or vegetables depending on the restaurant you go to. The most inconvenient part is that if you go around lunch hours from 11-1, the lines for each stretch out of the door. As students from the neighboring Technopole schools also share this dining service, the number of people who frequent Crous Cafet is massive.
To maintain a balanced diet, I often head back to Lafayette and cook up my own pasta meal. Throwing together some mushrooms, green peppers, sausage, steak, and some spices, spaghetti chow mien is my go-to. Not only is it flavorful, but it is also easy to make, with the pasta taking the longest to boil. All the ingredients can be easily bought at CORA at your convenience.
3:00 PM: More class, study sesh, and coffee!
After a quick lunch, I head back to the study lounge at the GTL building to finish up more assignments and hang out with other GTL students. The best part about the lounge is that it’s equipped with a full coffee dispensing machine with a multitude of interesting flavors. For just 45 cents, you can get a small cup of caffeine bliss, or you can get a larger cup for just 80 cents. If you bring your own mug, it’s even cheaper. The lounge also has a ping pong table for quick study session break or a pool table if you want to get competitive. The only downside is that it can get a little noisy as people start to work on their group projects, play ping-pong or just chat in the main room. It might be wise to bring some headphones if you want to get some serious work done.
Other than that, there are also universal power outlets for your computer or any electronic device, so if you forget your power adapter, no worries! There are also plenty of computers to use if your laptop ends up not working.
If you’re there long enough, you can probably catch a glimpse of the sunset in the giant windowpanes that stretch across the room. Could be a good way to end your day.
5:00 PM: Dinner feast
Around 5 PM, I start packing up and heading back to Lafayette after a long day of class and work. The Crous Cafe is also open for dinner at your convenience. Restaurants and cafes nearby the roundabout on the way back to Lafayette also have options for delicious quiches, pastries or even pizza. Mamma Mia Pizza is a go-to for many GTL students. Their endless menu of 16-inch pizzas and reasonably priced pastas are enough to feed two people on a hungry day. The pizzas themselves are nice and thinly made, with the crust crispy and delicious. The Pizzaiolo is my favorite so far. It is topped with layers of cheese, ham, chorizos, and peppers, and the best part is that it comes at a light price of only 13 euros for a maxi. Pretty good deal compared to the other pizza restaurants in the area. If you’re in the fast food mood, you can definitely hit up the Burger King, McDonalds, or KFC for a hefty meal as well.
7:00 PM: Cora Run
After dinner on Mondays, I tend to take a trip to Cora for some groceries. If you’re in the fast-food mood, you might as well grab dinner down there before heading to the market. GTL provides a free shuttle back to the dorms from Cora on Mondays so it’ll make your life easier than lugging jugs of milk back a mile back to Lafayette.
Cora itself is a super store with rows of clothing, aisles of pastries, and huge sections designated to pasta, alcohol, and French snacks. It has everything you can think of, including rolls of pink toilet paper. The vegetables there are fresh and the seafood section is nice and clean. Not only does it boost an array of crabs, snails, and fish, the meat section is paired with a huge corner of fresh cheeses and sausages. During the first week, I spent hours in Cora just exploring the different kinds of cheese and meats.
9:00 PM: Laundry
The laundry in Lafayette is definitely something hard to get used to. The weekdays are usually the least busy as there are only 3 washers and 2 dryers in the entirety of Lafayette. You also have to pay at least five euros for a proper wash and dry. If you end up doing your laundry at night, you should try to allocate some time as the dryers here offer a special “European dry” that requires you to hang up your clothes even after drying. If you want them to be in wearable condition, you probably need to run the dryer twice, which would take about one and a half hours.
12 AM: Snooze
By the time midnight rolls around, I’m heading to bed after another long day at GTL. While everyday will be different for each student, I can allocate some time to take day trips on Tuesday or Thursdays when I don’t have class. But overall, the greatest challenge at GTL is managing school-life balance and workload. Make sure you work hard but also play hard as GTL is the best opportunity to have the travels of a lifetime.