I have made a small list of things I have noticed so far in France:
- There are no drinking fountains in the UTBM, or in any other public space that I have seen
- Seriously, I’ve never seen a drinking fountain here. Most people use water bottles, disposable or not.
- There is also a very present push for recycling and Earth consciousness here. There are recycling spaces all over, and almost every product has something that says “Think about the earth, recycle!”
- Black beans are nearly impossible to find
- Black beans, cheddar cheese, thick yogurt, and a few other foods are much harder to find here.
- However, there were whole rabbits, various critters’ brains and livers that were available at the supermarket. The vegetables are also more varied and fresher than at home. I’ve already commented about the bread – it’s not meant to last more than a few days.
- Contact solution can be found at the pharmacy – but only by asking
- At home, contact solution is on the shelf and is easy to find. Here, I have to go to the pharmacy and then specifically ask for it. Luckily, it’s slightly cheaper here than at home.
- Chapstick bottles are built differently, and better, in my opinion
- In the USA, chapstick bottles are built with a small cap and a little wheel on the bottom. Here, the cap covers most of the bottle and though the wheel is still at the bottom, it affects the entire bottle. There is no way to accidentally push the chapstick up too far without taking the cap off.
- Sundays are complete do-nothing days
- The only things that are open are the cinema and various restaurants
- Though communication is harder, we actually communicate better with partial barriers because we work really hard to overcome them
- Whether I am talking to other exchange students or French natives,