Ice Skating, Crepes, and Ping Pong, Oh My! Some of the Amazing Events Thrown by the BDE 

Written by Lilian

November 28, 2022

The BDE, or Bureau des Étudiants, is the student government at GTL who is responsible for organizing social events to get more students connected to French culture and bridge the gap between the American and international students. Throughout the Fall semester, the BDE hosted ten different events for students including tickets to the Moselle Open, an Eight-Ball Billiards Tournament, a Halloween Ice Skating Party, and a Swing Dance Night! The BDE is composed of five students who are elected at the start of the semester: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sports Coordinator. 

The Pool Tournament: teams of two competed bracket style during the competition. Unfortunately, most teams got out because they scratched the cue ball… 

Serving as the President this semester, First Year Biomedical Engineer Noah Pastula’s favorite event was the “Trivia Night and Crepes” event because he “always likes a little bit of friendly competition”. Teams of five competed against each other to correctly answer the most questions in categories such as “Marvel Movies”, “Geography”, and “Math”. The final question involved naming all the bus stops on Line A of the Le Met bus route. At the same time, other members of the BDE cooked homemade crepes filled with Nutella, brown sugar, and bananas. The Trivia Night was also my favorite event because my team of five won the entire competition! We beat over 10 other teams for the title!

Shoutout to the BDE for cooking over 50 crepes for Trivia participants. It took them three hours to make custom crepes for everyone. 

Staying in the spirit of competition, another very popular event was the “Ping Pong Tournament” hosted in the middle of October. This semester, first year Civil Engineer Zachary Harrison serves as the Sports Coordinator on the BDE. As the Sports Coordinator, he is responsible for organizing any team-building events and physical activities. For example, every week, Zach hosts a soccer or ultimate frisbee game on a local sports field for any GTE student to join. In his role, he also helped plan both this Ping Pong Tournament and the Billiards Tournament. According to First Year Mechanical Engineer Sofia Mujica, the Ping Pong Tournament was her favorite event because “everyone was on the edge of their seat for every little point and there was so much camaraderie between all the students regardless of year!” The event was held bracket style with everyone competing solo. Even though the event lasted over three hours—it was originally predicted to last one hour—most students stayed the entire event to cheer on the final two.  

The final two competing in the Ping Pong Tournament. 

Just this past week, the BDE hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner and Talent Show for all the students. Three students showed off their talents on the guitar and piano while students munched on a catered meal of turkey and potatoes. It was an opportunity for international students to learn a bit about American culture and give homesick American students a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving before heading back to the States in mid-December.  

Overall, the BDE has planned a ton of diverse events that have sparked the interest of all students at GTE. They have given the student body a chance to mingle as well as blow off steam from stressful classes and hectic traveling schedules. Personally, I have had an amazing time watching, participating, and winning the events! Merci BDE! 

Top 5 Day Trips from GTE 

Written by Lilian

November 21, 2022

Looking to save some money, but still want to explore Europe? Consider taking a day trip to one of these places! Each of these towns can easily be visited in the span of a day from Metz using the Eurail pass! 

  1. Luxembourg 

Train Time from Metz: 1 Hour 

Number of Connections: Direct 

Once you get off at the Luxembourg train station, head north towards the upper city of Luxembourg and cross over La Passerelle, one of the many bridges that soar over the valleys which surround the city. Feast on hot chocolate from the Chocolate House and typical Luxembourgish meals of potatoes, stew, and meat while strolling around the Upper City. Spend time exploring the Bock Casements: the walls and old forts that offer some of the best views of the city. These tunnels were used to defend the city during wars and were also used as bomb shelters during WWII. As you make your way down to the lower city using the Chemin de la Corniche walking paths, a river appears, covered with weeping willows and ducks. You are now in The Grund, a small shopping district at the bottom of the valley. Once tired and satisfied, public transportation is completely free for a quick and easy way back to the train station! 

  1. Colmar 

Train Time: 1.5 hours (direct) or 2.5-3 hours (with connections) 

Number of Connections: Direct (with Eurail seat reservations) or 1 connection at Strasbourg 

As you walk through Colmar’s tight alleys and crowded streets, half-timbered houses dominate your view. Each of them brightly colored with dark wooden accents. Wreaths and tinsel are hung up under the shuttered windows. Underneath, stores advertise cheese covered pretzels, windows are filled with small bready pastries neatly lined up, and all signs are in French, German, and English. Colmar resides forever in the holiday festivities and the city is a perfect model for Alsace culture. Because of this, the town hosts one of the best Christmas markets in Europe! When you are there, try the Kugelhopf: an iconic almond pastry in the shape of a mini Bundt cake to get into the Alsace spirits! 

3. Strasbourg 

Train Time: 1 hour (high speed train with Eurail seat reservations) or 1.5 hours (no reservations required) 

Number of Connections: Direct 

After disembarking from your train, head into Strasbourg’s historic downtown, the Grande-Île, which was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. As you walk through the streets admiring the medieval architecture, one building will stop you in your tracks: the Strasbourg Notre Dame (the most visited cathedral in France). The cathedral is jaw-dropping; it towers over the surrounding buildings with its gorgeous Gothic architecture. When it was first built, it was the tallest building in the world. My favorite part of my trip was viewing the astronomical clock housed in the cathedral which displays the real position of the Sun and the Moon. Next, head over to La Petite France, a district of canals which are surrounded by picturesque half-timbered houses built in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

  1. Paris 

Train time: 1.5 hours 

Number of Connections: Direct (with Eurail Seat Reservations) 

Train reservations to Paris can cost as little as €10 with the Eurail pass (if purchased far enough in advance). This makes Paris a good day trip option especially when overnight hostels and Airbnb’s can cost more. When in Paris, spend time walking through the countless museums in the city, including the Louvre and Musee D’orsay, or attend one of the hundreds of concerts held in Paris each year. Whatever you decide to do, it is very easy to fill an entire day with Parisian activities. One thing to keep in mind is the Paris subway system can quickly fill during rush hour, so make sure you leave enough time to catch your train on the way back to Metz. 

  1. Metz 

How could I talk about day trips without mentioning one of the best: Metz! Downtown Metz is only a quick bus ride away and is very easy to visit for a full day or even a half day after classes! Explore the Metz cathedral, which has the largest stained-glass surface in the world at 6,500 m^2. Spend time strolling around the cobblestone streets and immersing yourself in the small but quaint village. There’s also an ice-skating rink, a rock-climbing wall, and a contemporary art museum! Metz is also home to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe!

Regional French Food Tour around Metz 

Written By Lillian

November 14th, 2022

*Disclaimer: Lily was not paid to endorse any of the businesses mentioned in this article, nor does Georgia Tech endorse any of these businesses.* 

One of the best things about France is the cuisine. France has a wide diversity of food found all over its 12 regions. Follow this food tour in downtown Metz to learn about food from four of these regions! 

For breakfast, stop by Boulanger Poulard for iconic French pastries. The shop is touted for the best croissants and most traditional baguettes in the Moselle region! This bakery also serves whole grain and white bread and other pastries in addition to the croissant and pain au croissant. Fun fact: the croissant did not originate in France, but in Vienna, Austria. Historians say that they were heavily inspired from the Austria pastry kipferl. In the 19th century, they were introduced to Paris at La Boulangerie Viennoise and were made flakier than the original. Parisians called them croissants due to their crescent shape! Another interesting fact is that a lot of bakeries are called “viennoiseries” which means they sell Austrian-style baked goods such as croissants, pain au chocolat, and chausson aux pommes.  

Look how beautiful those pain au chocolat and croissants are! 

For lunch, head to Creperie Le Saint Malo which serves both savory and dessert crepes. Buckwheat crepes originated from the Brittany region of France. Urban legend says a housewife accidentally dropped porridge onto a hot flat pan and created the first crepe. The Brittany region is in the northwestern part of France and includes towns such as Saint-Malo and Rennes and is known for milk and butter, two of the ingredients of crepes! 

This buckwheat crepe was filled with tomatoes, cheese, ham, mushrooms, a fried egg, and a pat of butter on top. The restaurant also had crepes with ice cream, Nutella, potatoes, smoked salmon and even escargot! 

After admiring the Metz Cathedral, stop by L’Ours Hardi for dinner to taste food from the Rhône Alps region of France. The Rhône Alps region is known for its natural beauty being located in the French Alps and includes cities like Lyon, Grenoble, and Chamonix. Most of the food in this region is cheese based, so of course L’Ours Hardi serves fondue— a pot of cheese to dip pieces of bread and meat into— and raclette, a giant wheel of cheese that is scraped on a bed of potatoes, charcuterie, and cornichons.  

Fondue of Comté, Cantal, and French Emmental cheese with a plate of assorted charcuterie, and Spätzle. The cornichons are the little pickled cucumbers! 

After dinner, stop by Aux Merveilleux de Fred to try an iconic dessert originating from the French city Lille in the Hauts-de-France region. The Hauts-de-France region is located to the North of Paris and borders Belgium and includes cities such as Lille, Dunkirk, and Amiems. At Aux Merveilleaux de Fred, try a merveilleaux: a meringue-based cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  

While I only covered four establishments in downtown Metz, a huge variety of places which serve other French foods are located in the area. It is amazing how diverse (and delicious) French dishes can be, even if you are just eating within Metz. Every region in France is known for completely different foods and cultures. One can even go on a tour of the regions just for cheese! There are also a ton of regional foods from the Grand-Est region which houses Metz such as Quiche Lorraine, Mirabelle plums, and Madeleines! While I only have a couple weeks left in Metz, I know that I will be spending it continuing to find new dishes which I can learn to cook and bring back with me to the States. 

The Leonardo Program 

Written by Lillian

October 13, 2022

Studying abroad in Europe, we find ourselves in the center of so many important arts. GTL’s own backyard is home to Metz which is rich in history. A quick train ride away houses all of Europe’s art museums, public sculptures, art performances, and architecture. However, these opportunities are often overlooked by the students at GTL. To remedy this problem, the Leonardo Program was created. The goal of the Leonardo Program is simple: to interest hyper-focused engineering students in the arts. Professor Sonia Serafin, a French teacher at GTL, tackles this goal by shocking students with the beauty of the arts and the positive influences they can have on science and engineering. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci – one of the best examples of innovators blending art with STEM, Professor Serafin aims to interest students in the arts by organizing various events focused on art and history for them. 

For example, a mere 20-minute walk from campus resides the Centre Pompidou Metz: a free-for-students museum of modern and contemporary art showcasing both temporary and permanent art installations. One of the exhibitions features Eva Aeppli, a Swiss painter and sculptor who focuses on human expression. Walking through her exhibit as part of the Leonardo Program was a unique experience. It included large crowds of hooded figures with fingers reaching out to touch those who passed by, sculpted pairs of scissors dangling from the ceiling, and a pin-drop silence which was cut by an eerie screech coming from a wooden wheel which raised and lowered a couch of mannequins from the ground. Eva’s art was profound and discomforting, which I believe was the desired effect. Starting on November 5th, a new art installation focusing on art in science fiction will open; I will be sure to visit given how much I enjoy the current exhibits. 

The unsettling exhibit of Eva Aeppli 

Another Leonardo Program event introduced us to the auditory arts: we were given reduced price tickets to see Madame Butterfly at the Metz Opera House. Madame Butterfly is an Italian Opera about unrequited love between a geisha and an American soldier in 20th century Japan. Throughout the three acts, we listened to the amazing soprano, Francesca Tiburzi, and tenor, Thomas Bettinger, belt out beautiful, narrative songs. I was amazed by their ability to sing for nearly three hours straight with minimal breaks. 

Image courtesy of www.republicain-lorrain.fr 

To cultivate our own art, a local artist is invited to the GTL campus once every week by the Leonardo Program to teach an art class focusing on sketching and drawing for all students. Additionally, the campus is home to a piano practice space for students to play in private. Communal events, such as a chess tournament, are planned to cultivate camaraderie between the FYSA, undergraduate, and graduate students.

A local Metz resident and chess teacher played the top 10 students from the chess tournament at the same time and won all 10 games.

Professor Serafin says one of her favorite things about this program is listening to the impact the arts had on each student. She loves hearing about a student’s first time at the Opera or about a student’s interaction with art over a weekend trip. She believes when students at GTL get in touch with their artistic side, they can allow creativity to influence their engineering side as well. When you mix STEM and art together, a broader variety of solutions to problems in both fields emerge. Professor Serafin says it best: “art touches you; I profoundly believe that life is richer with art”. 

Meeting the Mayor of Metz

Written by Lillian

September 28, 2022

On Wednesday, the students of GTL were invited to meet the Mayor of Metz with the other technology schools in Metz at the Metz football stadium. We all piled into a bus to take us to the football stadium across town. There was so much traffic within Metz we had to take the highway around the town. Once we got back into Metz, it was bumper to bumper traffic, and I don’t think that our long Coach bus helped traffic that much. It was quite interesting to see Metz from that high since I was so used to gliding through the city on foot or using the carefully planned bus routes to go around town. I would never have expected that Metz would have gridlocked traffic during rush hour!  

When we got to the football stadium, we were greeted by the other technology schools across Metz. One of the first things that I noticed was that Georgia Tech Lorraine was much more diverse in terms of gender distribution when compared to the other technology universities which are much more male dominated. We were also greeted by the Metz mascot: Graoully. According to legends, Graoully was a dragon that frightened children in the Moselle region who was defeated by Saint Chément, the first bishop of the city of Metz.  

After watching a Metz city hype video, the Mayor of Metz, François Grosdidier, gave a speech to all of the technology students to thank us for helping make Metz a more technology driven city. The mayor and other presenters all spoke in French, so I wasn’t unable to understand most of it until we were helped by some of the teachers and French students there. He went on to discuss some of the accomplishments the city has had. He also told us that because the 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris, Metz has been chosen to host the volleyball teams’ training for the games!

After all the speeches, the catering staff brought out all tons of French Hors d’oeuvres. There were long slices of cured meats, giant blocks of hard and soft cheeses, mango dipping sauce and figs, and a potato-cheese salad. They also had hot dogs with a cheese sauce topped to the eater’s desire with pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise, and pickled and fried onions. And of course, there had to be rolls and rolls of French bread. For dessert, there were frosted donuts and cranberry pound cake. All of the food was so decadent, and I wanted to try it all… I didn’t even realize you could have an entire meal of just little plates! For drinks, they had bottles of Lorraine Cola (a cola made by a local manufacturer with all its ingredients sourced from the Lorraine region) and apple juice. Luckily, GTL provided another shuttle back to the dorms after we all came out with food comas.  

It was really cool to see all the other engineering students from Metz gathered in one place, and compare and contrast our schools with theirs. This was a really unique experience, and the food really sent it to the next level!

What to Expect During Your First Week at GTL

September 12, 2022

Written by Lillian

1. GTL shuttle

When you first arrive in Paris, at the Charles De Gaulle Airport, your first task is to locate the GTL shuttle. I highly recommend getting into contact with other GTL students prior to entering Paris in order to make this experience better, since finding the shuttle is very chaotic and hard to locate in the midst of being in a foreign country and finding your luggage. Thankfully, I was able to text other students in a GTL group chat to ask for more specific directions to the shuttle.

That afternoon and night offers students time to unpack their things and unwind from the day of traveling. Free pizza will be offered during a dorm building party for dinner. Some students will also take this time to shop for food and personal belongings. I would hold off on making large purchases during this time because students will get the opportunity to pick large items like trash cans and fans for free on Monday, when old GTL students dorm supplies are available to new GTL students. 

2. CORA tour

The next morning, students have the option of signing up for a tour of CORA: the local supermarket, which is more like a superstore in Metz. During this tour, you will learn where everything is located, and some helpful hints to make your shopping experience better. For example, in order to use a shopping cart, you need to insert a coin into the cart to unlock it. You will get that coin back when you return the cart. You also need to plastic wrap all large backpacks (purses and handbags excluded) when you enter the store to prevent theft. CORA, like many other French grocery stores, has a large bakery and cheese section.

3. Downtown Metz Tour

That afternoon, we headed into downtown Metz on a GTL supplied bus. We got an audio tour of the city while riding a small train-like shuttle. Once that was over, the student assistants freed us to explore the town ourselves. During this time, I went with a group of students to get cellular data plans at Free Mobile. One student spoke French so we were able to rely on him to make sure we got the plans we needed.

View of Downtown Metz. Imagine living in one of those apartments that look out onto the waterfront!

4. Orientation

Monday morning brings orientation! While there are no classes on Monday, students are required to attend orientation early that morning where we learn about building safety precautions, research abroad, and general GTL programs. Since there are no classes on Monday, this first week will have classes on Friday, so your first week’s travel plans will be impacted.

5. Campus Tour

On the Monday of your first week of classes, you will be given a tour of the GTL building as well as safety information about the building. Your class will be split into different tour groups to walk through the building at different times. While waiting for your group to start, you can rent a bike with Velomet for €15 who will visit GTL during that time. In order to rent a bike, you must bring a €200 deposit that you will receive when you turn your bike back in. Velomet only accepts cash deposits, so if you are in need of a bike, make sure to bring it to your orientation on Monday. GTL will also invite a local food truck that you can purchase lunch from.

6. Garage Sale

In the middle of your tour, you will have access to the Garage Sale, a room full of free items to grab from previous GTL students. Items include fans, brooms and mops, clothes bins and drying racks, trash cans, hangers, etc. Students have limited time and limited number of items that they can select during the garage sale in order to make it fair to all students; however, students in earlier tour groups will receive an advantage since they will choose their items first. Even though I was in the last group to choose items, I still was able to pick up a fan, cutting board, trash can, and clothes bin, so do not worry if you are in the same situation.

I was one of the last students that was able to go to the garage sale, and this is how much was still remaining

7. Grad Orientation

If you are a Masters or PHD student, you are required to attend a major specific orientation detailing your program at GTL. During this time, you learn about research and courses for your degree, and you can ask more grad school specific questions.

8. Dorm Tours

Students will also receive a tour of their dorm building after the tour of campus and learn about laundry facilities and trash separation. The washing machines in my building, Lafayette, include their own detergent. Fabric softeners and other scented products are not included. 

9. Leonardo Program

During orientation, you will learn about the Leonardo Program: a program headed by French teacher Sonia Seravan to explore the arts. This program has events that are free for students such as drawing classes with a local artist and speed dating events to meet your fellow Georgia Tech travelers. 

High Speed Trains: Rated

Friday, April 22, 2022 | Written by Claire

Trains. They’re what make Europe run the way it does today. From local to region to cross-country high speed trains, there are so many different designs and engineering feats you will encounter everywhere you travel. As a newcomer to European transportation before this semester, I found the intricate time tables of arriving and departing trains, engineering mechanisms of high speed rail, and designs to be highly fascinating. From the hundreds of trains I’ve ridden in this past semester, here are my top 5 favorites. If you get the chance, definitely use your Eurail pass to your advantage and take a luxury train ride across the country of your desire. 

5: TGV (France)

This train is going to be your best friend. The good ol’ TGV, also known as Train à grande vitesse, or high-speed train in French. This is the French intercity rail line that will be the heart of how you travel in, out, and within France. There are many other trains that follow the design of the TGV, but this is the original, fastest rail-based high speed train developed in the world, traveling up to 300 km per hour. While TGVs are not the most luxurious on the inside compared to many other trains, it is definitely a classic exterior that represents France as a whole.
4: Italo Treno (Italia) 

To me, this train is like a Ninja. Flanked by red and black stripes, the design of this train embodies speed, agility, and precision. With a nose slightly sharper than many of the ICE and TGV trains, it creates a narrow, streamline figure that cuts through air as it races down the tracks. It is also eco-friendly and sustainable, a good move towards Italy’s renewable energy plan. The interior also has several sections, one that is more “first class” that comes with unlimited snacks and private suites. The seats themselves are firmly cushioned for comfort. Bathrooms are kept squeaky clean and table space is generous. 

3: ICE (Germany) 

I’ve spent most of my travel days on ICE trains simply for its convenience, reliability, and comfort. While it can be packed as the summer months approach, the ICE train is the German high speed rail line that is designed to get you across the country in a matter of hours. If timed right, you can take them as overnight trains and save a few bucks on hotel costs. For the winter, these trains are definitely safe havens for warmth and shelter among the blistering cold winds outside. The seating cushion is also one of the most comfortable. With pillowed head rests and curved back spaces, you can comfortably sleep without leaning your head on a stranger’s shoulder. Additionally, ICE trains have adequate luggage racks at the end and above seats to actually fit your backpack and not just a jacket like some of the French TGVs. 

2: Südostbahn Traverso (Switzerland) 

Deemed as what my friend calls the “sexy train,” the Südostbahn, often abbreviated as SOB, is the new design for the regional Swiss railcar. Plated with a rose gold chrome roof and side matting, the Traverso features spacious seating, large window space, and noise canceling interior. Many of the regional lines also go through scenic routes, making the train ride even more enjoyable. Not only is it kept clean and hygienic, the train also has a bistro car for certain food options and even a vending machine in several cars where you can grab instant coffee or soda. Additionally, while most train bathroom cars are filthy and often smelly, the Traverso has a huge and luxurious bathroom with high pressure faucets and good mirror lighting as well. This was by far one of my favorite train rides I’ve been on and one the most sleek exterior designs within European trains. 

1: Thalys (French-Belgium)

For me, the Thalys will always have a special place in my heart. Branded as an entirely red train, the sleek design makes Thalys standout among the mass of trains passing through each station. They are characterized by their bright red exterior, flanked with silver. Thalys are one of the most expensive trains to ride and they only run through specific cities as well. This French-Belgian line runs high speed trains from Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Cologne. Interior-wise, spacious seating with adequate working room and quadded table space make it easily one of the most comfortable trains to ride. 

Free Mobile (Not so Free but Decent) 

Monday, March 21, 2022 | Written by Claire

Free Mobile is going to be your best bet for a reliable phone plan during your time at GTL. If you’re debating on using your current international data and call plan, you may want to reconsider after hearing about what Free Mobile has to offer. 

There are several things you should keep in mind when choosing your phone plan. You will be traveling across the EU during your time at GTL, especially with your Eurail Pass. 

Free mobile has been heavily reliant and can make calls for a few cents during emergencies. They offer fast and reliable data from local telecom towers. Free Mobile has reasonable rates for 50 GB in France and 10 GB abroad per month, which is more than plenty. They will charge you only 11 each month after the first payment of 21 for the plan and the sim card when you first purchase from the store. Free covers all countries within the EU, but if you’re going to Switzerland, watch out! You’ll be charged 1 CHF per MB of data used so make sure you turn roaming off when you’re crossing through the area. I was charged a hefty 50 surcharge for accidently using data in Switzerland, but usually you’ll get a warning text every time you enter a different country. Here are some of their current deals:
Depending on the package you get, you are able use up to 35 day’s worth of international calls , which include US landlines. This was super useful for when we had to call hostel owners abroad in order to check in or other uses for emergencies. Additionally, having the international component makes it much easier to receive international texts and other confirmation codes you might need to apply for Passenger Locator Forms in you’re flying into different countries or sometimes even getting the verification code for renting scooters and bikes. It can also be a hotspot for your computer if you need to get assignments done on the train or for others to leech off of if needed. 

Buying a Free Mobile sim card is easy. There is a store right next to the CDG airport in the local mall where you can register for a new French number at a kiosk. After getting a new number, you can start using your French sim card immediately. The only downside is that the kiosk is entirely in French but here’s a thorough walk through on how to use the kiosk. 

https://tabiparislax.com/en/freemobile-2/ 

Now, when you first arrive in Paris, you might be tempted to buy from the sim card vendors within the actual airport. DO NOT! Those rates are ridiculously inflated for just a few GB of data. Some of these vendors may be Orange, SFR, or Bouygues, but comparatively, Free Mobile has the best rates for data you are getting and its extensive coverage outside of France as well. 

Overall, Free mobile has been a lifesaver on many of my trips, and I highly recommend that you get a French sim card. The only thing is, remember to cancel your subscription before you leave!

A Traveler’s Best Friend: Transit Apps

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | Written by Claire

When traveling around Europe from Metz, there are four essential apps you should use to maximize your travel limits and increase efficiency to make sure you can catch the next train, plane, or bus to your destination. Public transport will be your best friend for the next few months. Your dependence on trains, buses, and even city-friendly scooters will either stress you out entirely or make it a much easier to get around.

Eurrail: Global Pass

Before coming to Metz, I had doubts about getting the Eurrail Global Pass, which cost over $800 for just three months. Don’t make that mistake. Eurrail is your best bet when catching trains across Europe, to even as far as Hungary. Preloaded timetables and prices for seat reservations make it easy to check train departures and arrivals without Wi-Fi. Additionally, it is well worth its buck. For each individual leg, for example just from Metz to Strasbourg, the central hub for getting out of France, can cost upwards to $60-$100. The Eurrail pass includes uses for intercity, regional, and long-distance high-speed trains that can sometimes cost over $200 per journey. The pass can be activated any time from when you buy it. It can be life savers when your train has been delayed or cancelled so you can find the next way to your destination by looking at the preloaded information. While it can be inaccurate at times, 85% of the time it has everything you need for a smooth journey. 

Apple Maps/Google Maps/ Moovit: Transit 

After these few months of traveling extensively across Western Europe, it is a common trend to see that Apple Maps is very reliable for transportation routes, which include trains and local buses. You can set the time to when you would be scheduled to leave, so you can check whether lines would be running at certain hours. You can also see multiple routes on the map itself of train stations, stops, and other info desks to ensure that you are heading in the right direction. On the other hand, Google Maps has been more reliable for finding more obscure restaurants and their hours. They have the best updated information on local stores and can also link places to their reviews left by others on Travel Advisor or other sites. The Move It App is also a highly accurate, European-based transportation app that includes routes, departures, and arrivals in almost all European cities. This one is probably your best bet for smaller routes that may not be loaded in Apple or Google Maps, so it’s always a good idea to keep it on your phone as a backup. Moovit can be used in Metz as well, and it pretty spot on with the times. 

Tier: Scooters 

Scooters are a fun way to spend your time exploring the city without walking. While these scooters are limited to only bigger cities, they are still prevalent in most places that you go. The only catch is that each country tends to have different scooter companies. The most prevalent brands I’ve seen so far are Tier, Bird, Lime or Voi. Big cities in Germany and Spain have scooters, bikes, and even mopeds scattered across the city for your convenience. All it requires is an ID verification to make sure you’re over 18 and a confirmation number to start up your next scooter ride. There are also many referral codes that can be used for ride credit, so if you’re in a big group, make sure to refer others to get free rides for you and your friends!  

Bolt: Ride Sharing 

Like in the states, many people use apps for ride sharing, especially to and from airports or major train hubs. Taxis in certain high tourism areas may charge higher rates that are definite rip-offs, but when you’re desperate and looking for a quick way home, ride sharing is a guaranteed option… just depending on the app you are using. In Metz, Ubers are rare. There are only one or two drivers in the vicinity, and they are often late or inactive. Bolt is a commonly used app across Europe for the exact services that Uber has. They are also very cheap in comparison and when split amongst four people or a smaller group, it can be a quick, efficient way home after a long day of train hopping. 

Why GTL?

Thursday, February 23, 2022 | Written by Claire

Coming to GTL has been an astounding experience for me so far. Having switched study abroad programs last minute, I had my suspicions for how GTL would turn out; however, after living in France for over a month and having traveled to over 15 cities within the past few weekends, GTL has been life changing and I could not be more grateful for this special opportunity.  While traveling every weekend is fun, GTL is definitely for an acquired taste. Occasionally, I still have my lingering upset about not going to the other program, but in the long run, I’m confident that I’ve made the right decision, and it proves true every time I travel somewhere new and exciting. 

So, for those prospective students looking to come to GTL in the following semesters, here are some important aspects and culture of the program that you should consider before clicking the submit button on Atlas:

Major related classes

As a second-year Industrial Engineering student, I, quite frankly, do not have many classes I can really take for my major. Having satisfied all humanities and social sciences, I have found some Engineering Electives that I can round out my schedule with such as Physics and Wind Engineering. Most of the classes at GTL during the academic year are tailored for Electrical or Mechanical Engineers, with most of the classes 3000 and above. For those looking for research opportunities in robotics or other type of circuit-related labs, GTL has many opportunities and connections with teachers from Tech and outside of Tech. 

For those looking to fulfill humanities, there are countless history, international affairs, and economics classes that can count towards your core curricula, regardless of major or year. Specifically, Politics of the EU (INTA), Ethics (INTA), and History, Science, and  Technology of Modern Europe (HTS) have GT faculty-led field trips across France and into neighboring countries. These trips are perfect for those looking for a set travel group and a good way to explore the transportation methods across Europe during the first two weeks of the semester. 

Overall, from personal experience and feedback from other students in higher level engineering classes, the courses at GTL are more relaxed and have an easier flowing content distribution. Although the pace might be faster to cover all the material, GTL only has a four-day week system, so there will be much more free time to travel and do homework outside of class. 

Travel Ambitions 

Located in Metz, GTL is perfectly situated on the NE border of France and Germany, in just the right spot for reaching many high speeds train lines using the Eurail pass. For many weekends, I’ve been able to travel to Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Berlin, and even cities in Austria such as Hallstatt for free on overnight trains. It is also a good area to get to Belgium and Luxemburg on day trips due to frequent train lines in the region such as TGV. With four-day weeks and the campus being very small and situated away from downtown Metz, Georgia Tech Lorraine campus itself is actually quite mundane. On the weekdays when I’m not traveling, I’m mostly finishing my work, getting groceries, or doing my laundry in anticipation for the next trip during the weekend. 

If you’re not the type of person to travel and explore places outside your comfort zone, GTL is not the place for you. There will be many times when travel plans may get changed, cancelled, or delayed, and relying heavily on public transportation always comes with its downsides, so it’s typical to expect such bumps on the road when adjusting to life at GTL. If you’re easily stressed in these situations and don’t have the patience to plan out routes and schedules, it may be more of a hassle to come to GTL than not. 

Campus Culture 

When first arriving here, I was eager to meet a bunch of new friends and form lasting, bonding relationships with travel buddies and various friend groups. However, I was struck by the existing culture that traveled over to GTL from the main campus. As this is a second year and above oriented program, many people already come with designated friend groups from home. Often, they tend to stick together in travel groups during the weekend and are reluctant to branch out, even on campus. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few solid friends at GTL through mutuals so far, but every weekend, I find myself traveling with new people and even eventually ending contact with them during the weekday. 

There are several sport complexes that are open for those to play soccer and basketball, but all of those usually come with extra fees. There are rarely any clubs besides the average Student Government Association for students to get involved with GTL administration. Other than that, students tend to plan their own activities when not in class. 

Campus Cuisine

GTL has a dining hall for cheap: Crous. Its an inexpensive way to eat, with typical European style food options-bread, cheese, meat. I’m not a huge fan of the meals they provide there, so I usually take a quick run to Cora or Auchan, the neighboring mega-grocery stores right by the campus to get all of my cooking necessities I need to make meals for 4 days during the week. Food here is not cheap; in fact, it might actually be more expensive than the groceries I get at home, but it does offer you a chance for a balanced diet. Other than buying food to feed yourself, there are many Kebabs and even Asian restaurants for your enjoyment in downtown Metz that you can get to by tram, bus, or walking. Make sure to buy the month Le Metz pass for the best bang for your buck.