Biarritz, coastal town in the Basque Country, with its long beaches and wonderful gastronomy, is where the journey started for the students of the 2018/19 Hamilton in France program. During the orientation week in the South-West of France, students brush up on their French, get ready for the upcoming academic challenges and discover one of France most beautiful regions. Hiking in the mountains, baking typical gâteaux basques, visiting local organic farms, students were able to dive into the culture of rural France before flying to the capital city, and their home for the fall semester or for the year : Paris.

Long avenues and historic buildings, narrow sidewalks and charming cafés, new homes and new host families, the first week in Paris is a period of transition and preparation for the students’ upcoming semester in France. They attended introduction classes at Reid Hall, home to the Hamilton in France program, visited various Paris neighborhoods, including a boat excursion on the Seine, and discovered their future universities. They also started their artistic exploration of France with the beautifully renovated Picasso museum in the Marais, and with recent French films.

Orientation is over: time to jump into classes at the Parisian universities. Littérature, sociologie, histoire, physique… students picked courses that match their academic path at their home universities in the United States: some take literature classes at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, others study sociology at the university of Paris Diderot, or law at the university of Panthéon-Sorbonne. They are now getting used to very different teaching styles, and to the way French students interact with one another. Many already participate in student clubs (danse, yoga, basketball) and are looking for volunteering opportunities. All in French, bien sûr…

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