It’s Voting Day in France!

Bonjour mes amis!

Today is a very important day in France… Voting day! I thought I’d share briefly how the process works in France, so let’s jump right in!

My host mother explained to me that about 2 weeks ago, the country of France had 1 vote to choose between 11 candidates running for president. They then narrowed their choices down to 2: Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, and today was the day to vote for one of these two candidates.

Pic french

Since today is election day, my host family invited me to go with them to see how they vote! I have never voted in the United States, so I didn’t know what to expect. In France, there are 2 papers, each of which have the Candidate’s name on it. You take 1 envelope and head to a voting booth where you choose to put one of the papers with the name of who you wish to vote for, inside of the envelope. Once you have decided, you take the closed envelope with the name inside and put it inside of a clear box with all of the other votes. You must also have your electoral card and your I.D. in order to vote. This process stops at 7pm, and around 10pm the whole country will know who their next president is!

vote fr

One thing I found interesting is that when they count the votes, after 7pm, it is open to the public, so anyone can come and watch the officials count the votes!

To be updated with the next president of the Republic of France!…

Emmanuel Macron

Macron pres

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Europe Tour

36 Rotary exchange students, 11 cities, 12 days… C’est parti!

Day 1:

We started day one of the Euro tour bus trip in Paris, France on Easter! Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time to visit all of the famous monuments but we did have time to stop at the Eiffel Tower! It was an Easter we’ll never forget!IMG_0759

Day 2:

Bienvenue à Strasbourg! Day 2 was a lovely, rainy day in the city of Strasbourg located right on the border of France & Germany. The word “Strasbourg” in German means “street city.” Strasbourg is less than a 30 min drive from the German border, therefore there is a lot of German influence in the architecture and food. One of my favorite foods we tried here was the “Bretzel,” a German-style soft pretzel.

Day 3:

Next stop: MÜNCHEN! This was my first time visiting Germany, so I was pretty excited. We arrived in the afternoon and had “Rotwurst” which is like a sausage served with French fries for lunch. En route to Munich, we got caught in traffic because of the snow storm that was going on, but that didn’t stop us from arriving in the beautiful city of Munich! We took a very nice tour where we learned that it is the wealthiest city in Germany and is known for football (soccer), beer, and cars. With that being said, we visited the BMW museum. BMW is one amongst 3 other companies that do the most hiring in Germany, roughly 36,000 people work for BMW. It is also a very popular University city, there are many university students in the city of Munich, where college is free!!

Day 4 & 5:

Czech this out!

The next 2 days were spent in Prague! We took a tour around the “Old Town” visiting a lot of the important buildings and cathedrals, and since it was Easter week, we even got to see the adorable outdoor Easter market. We also tried a Czech specialty food called “Trdelnik.” The best way to describe it is like bread dough rolled up around a hot iron rod where they roll it in sugar, bake it, and then spread caramel sauce/ Nutella/ whipped cream/ etc on the inside. It was delish! We then visited the john Lennon wall, a beautiful wall where you can find graffiti with drawings or quotes of world peace.

Day 6:

We then drove to, in my opinion, probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe… VIENNA! We took a nice walking tour around the city but we’re unable to visit the entire city by foot, so we hopped on the bus and saw the rest of the city. There were so many beautiful buildings with ‘Art Nouveau’ style architecture.

Day 7 & 8:

Next up on our tour is Venice, Italy! I had seen so many beautiful pictures of Venice in books/ social media/ etc, but when I saw this city in person, my jaw dropped. It is such a unique city built on water. We had to take a 20 minute ferry form the main land to get to Venice. First thing we did when we arrived was get Gelato! IMG_1040I got Stracciatella, which is vanilla with bits of chocolate, it was delicious! We then took a guided tour where we saw a good bit of Venice including the Byzantine cathedral and learned about Venice’s 15 day carnival and specially in Glass making. I bought a pair of beautiful glass earrings that are made on an island not far from Venice. We ended the day off right with a run along the beach at sun set and had pasta for dinner! Fun fact: pasta is considered as an appetizer in Italy, so we had one plate of pasta, then a plate of veal and potatoes, and then Panna Cotta for dessert.

Day 9:

Ciao Milano!

Every day I spent in Italy I ended up loving more and more. The people are so friendly, the food is great, and I even got to practice my Italian! For breakfast we ate traditional Italian food: presunto, cheese, pannetone and café with latte (which means warm milk!). I was surprised to find that Italian is quite easy to understand. For lunch we stopped at a restaurant in Milan where they did not speak English, therefore we had to make an effort to speak in Italian. Luckily my knowledge of Portuguese, Spanish and French came into hand and we had no problems ordering our meal. I ate a delicious “gnocchi Verdi,” which is a potato based pasta with basil and garlic.

We then took a guided walking tour visiting all of the major monuments in Milano. We saw the beautiful Duomo cathedral and the Plazza Della Scala, which is a very high end shopping centre. I was completely starstruck by this city because my freshman year of high school, I did a project on Milan and its famous monuments, so I was in awe to actually get to visit Milan and see the city in person during my senior year of High School.

And since Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, i just had to go shopping. I found an adorable Italian hand bag store, from Naples, where I bought a beautiful summer-y purse. And we couldn’t leave Italy without trying the coffee, so I tried an espresso. Boy oh boy, those Italian espressos are about the size of 2 sips but it gave me so much energy!

Day 10:

En route back to La France! Today we adventured to Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in in Europe. We arrived in the afternoon, it was raining so we decided to eat a warm lunch. We found the cutest little Swedish restaurant in the centre ville of Chamonix where we ate Swedish meatballs, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes. We then caught a train to take to the top of mount blanc. It was such an awesome view! We then took a gondola to the bottom to check out the glaciers! It was incredible to get to see the inside of a glacier but alarming because of how fast it is melting. 

Day 11: 

Guess who’s going to the UN in Geneva today?! ME!!!

Today we drove from Annecy, France to Geneva, Switzerland. We got to see an actual conference going on during the ‘eCommerce week’: Assessing eTrade readiness of the least developed countries. We also learned that there are 6 official languages of the United Nations: English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.

We then stopped in downtown Geneva for lunch! I ate at a delicious Brazilian restaurant with all of the Brazilian exchange students. It was delicious!!!

Then we headed back to Annecy where we spent the rest of the day! We drank hot chocolate and saw some of the other exchange students who live in Annecy.

And to end the bus trip, we had a dance party in the hotel! This was a trip that I’ll never forget! Thanks to everyone who made it unforgettable!

Bisous!

I went to the UK!: Edinburgh, Scotland

I just spent a week in the U.K. with my fellow french classmate and it was such an awesome experience!
We started the trip leaving at midnight Saturday and drove all the way from Chambéry, france, passing through Luxembourg, Belgium and made our way to Amsterdam, Holland where we caught the ferry to take us to Newcastle, England where we would then drive to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Day 1
:

Once we arrived in England, we drove a few hours to get to Hadrian’s Wall. It was the wall built during the Roman Empire, located just below the border of Scotland. Unfortunately it rained and we were walking in mud the whole time but it was a really cool thing to experience! I’m not a game of thrones fan but apparently this tree is famous because of the series.
We then drove to an ancient roman town that is more than 2000 years old called Viandola. This town has archeologists and volunteers who come to dig on the site to find things from the ancient times. We also go to see the museum where they had a collection of shoes from the romans that they found in display.
Later on that night, we met up with our Scottish host families in the suburbs of Edinburgh .One of my french friends and i were hosted by a very nice woman and man who also had kids but they were not home because they were visiting family in Wales. It was really strange for me to be speaking in English with people who’s native language is English since I have been in france for 8 months! I can’t imagine how weird it’s gonna feel when I actually go back home to the US! 

Day 2
:

We woke up bright and early to rejoin with the group and head to Sterling, a city in Scotland that used to be the capital. We had a tour guided by a local Scott who wore a kilt! I learned that the unicorn is one of the national symbols of Scotland, the other is the thistle.
We got to see a monument call the National Wallace Monument. Scottish army defeats British forces in the late 1200s. It was a very tall tower with a total of 264 steps. It was actually quite scary to go up to the top because there is only 1 state case for everyone to use and it was not a very big one, since it is so old, so you had to take turns going up and down the steps because they weren’t big enough.
Fun fact: A veryyyyy long time ago, Scotland had glaciers that passed through pausing the land down, which caused all the large hills/ tiny mountains but now a days, the ground in Scotland rises just a little bit everyday while the ground in England sinks just a little bit.
Scotland also has volcanos, that’s why you can find many old, black building made from the volcanic rock.
Later on, we took a boat ride down one of Scotland’s deepest rivers! 



Day 3:

First thing, we were greeted with a “Goodmornin” (imagine it with a Scottish accent) and ate toast with butter and blackcurrant jam with tea and milk!
We then drove to the Edinburgh castle located on a cliff like hill with an amazing view of all of Edinburgh!
We spent the rest of the day walking along the ‘Royal mile’ Edinburgh’s Main Street for shopping and restaurants. Scotland is known for its cashmere and Whiskey, but I did not buy any of that. I went for the Scottish shortbread and fudge and took pictures at the red telephone booths, of course! It’s such a cute city with its double decker busses and cobble stone streets! We really got lucky, out of the 4 days that we were in the U.K., 3 of them were sunny!
And since it was the last night with our host families, I thought I’d be cool to ask them a few questions about their country…

1. What is a specialty dish & dessert from Scotland?: black pudding- blood sausage Heggis– served wi h turnips and potatos (sheeps somach- lining) cranachan– whipped cream & raspberries & whisky & granola

3. Number of sunny days per year?: only a handful, gets up to 19 degrees Celsius in the summer

4. Favorite thing to do in Scotland?: Lockness & golf, because Scotland is the home of golf



Day 4
:

We said a final goodbye to our host family and stopped one last time in Edinburgh to go to the Edinburg dungeons! This was a really cool experience and I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting. I think the best way to explain it is an interactive museum/ haunted house. It was based off of legitimate Scottish history but twisted a little to make it ‘scary’ and intriguing’ lol. I was accused as a “witch” during a court case.
We then drove back down to Newcastle, England where we took the ferry to Amsterdam and then drove all the way back home to Chambéry.


Next up is a bus trip around all Europe lasting 12 days!!! I’m gonna be exhausted after all this traveling! 😂

Meet Zoé: South Korea

Meet Zoé, my French host sister who is spending her exchange year abroad in South Korea!

 

I decided to interview some of my friends who are Rotary exchange students currently studying abroad around the world, so ENJOY!

Q: Why did you decide to go on exchange? / Pourquoi tu as decidé de faire une année d’échange?

A: Parce que j’aime l’inconnu, les aventures mais aussi rencontrer de nouveaux amis et que j’ai toujours eu envie de vivre à l’étranger, j’avais déjà demandé à ma mère de me laisser partir seule en Estonie. J’avais 14 ans. (Bien sûr ma demande avait été rejetée… ) Puis avant d’entrer en seconde, mes parents m’avaient parlée du programme YEP. Pas besoin de m’en dire beaucoup, en quelques jours j’envoyais déjà un mail au club le plus proche de chez moi. Mon but étant de partir en Corée du Sud entre ma première et ma terminale.

//Because I love the unkown and adventures, but I also like to meet new people and I always have the urge to travel abroad, I already asked my mom to let me go to Estonia by myself. I was 14 years old. (Of course my mom didn’t let me go…) Before going into sophomore year, my parents told me about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. There wasn’t a lot to say, a few days after, I had already emailed the closest Rotary club to me. My goal was to leave for South Korea between my sophomore and junior year. [And that’s exactly what she did!]

Q: Where are you on exchange? / Tu habites où pour ton année d’échange?

A:  J’habite actuellement à 동탄 (Dongtan) 대한민국에서 (en Corée du Sud).

// I live in Dongtan in South Korea.

Q: Language learning, challenges, funny moments, progression? / C’est facile ou difficile d’apprendre la langue?

A: Je ne pense pas vous apprendre quelque chose, mais le Français et le Coréen, on ne peut pas dire que ça soit similaire… Tout d’abord, l’alphabet est différent (voir photo), ensuite les syntaxes de phrases sont différentes (France : sujet + verbe + complément Corée : sujet + complément + verbe) mais LE TRUC légèrement enquiquinant reste tout de même les différents niveaux de respect lorsque que l’on s’exprime.

// I don’t think you learn something, but the French and Korean languages have nothing in common. First of all, the alphabet is different and the syntaxes are also different.  (French : subject + verb + complement and Korean : subject + complement + verb). But the MAIN difference is the amount of respect we show when speaking.

Q: Favorite food from host country? /  Ta nourriture préférée de ton pays d’accueil?

A: Aïe aïe aïe… pas facile de répondre… Disons… Les 삼각김밥 (samkakkimbab) ! C’est-à-dire du riz fourré enroulé dans une algue en forme de triangle. Les meilleurs sont ceux aux thon/mayo. En plus ce n’est pas cher, que des points possitifs !

// Hey hey hey… this isn’t easy to answer… let’s say… the 삼각김밥 (samkakkimbab) ! It’s a type of rice rolled in algae and formed into a triangle. The best ones are with mayo and tuna. And it’s not expensive, so that’s a plus! 

Q: What is “A day in the life of Zoé” like? /  Explique nous ‘un jour dans ta vie’ dans ton pays d’accueil.

A: Je vais vous raconter comment se passe mes mardis. Je me lève (enfin mon réveil sonne) à 6h10. En général, je me retrouve sous la douche entre 6h30 et 6h35. J’enfile mon uniforme, je déjeune puis je sors de l’immeuble. Je prends un bus pendre 20 minutes pour enfin arriver à l’école. (20 minutes pendant lesquelles je pionce un peu). Grace à mes supers profs, les deux autres étudiants d’échange et moi-même avons un emploie du temps ammenagé. Ce qui veut dire que mes cours sont : 3h de sport, 1h de Japonais, 1h d’Anglais et une heure d’Arts. Les cours se terminent à 16h30. Je reste souvent (quasiment tout le tenps en fait) avec Maïssane, l’autre française du lycée. On va chez elle, on se ballade, … Lorsqu’on est trop fatigué, on se dit à demain, je reprends le bus jusque chez moi. Pour finir, je mange (souvent seule car ma famille d’accueil travaille beaucoup) puis je me couche. (Et malgré ce que ma maman peut dire, je me couche tôt ces derniers temps !)

// I’m going to tell you how I spend my Tuesday’s. I wake up (after my alarm) at 6:10AM. Normally, I get into the shower between 6:30 and 6:35. I put on my uniform, I eat, and then I leave the house. I take a 20 mins bus ride to get to school. (During these 20 mins, I catch some zzz’s). Thanks to my fab teachers, the 2 other exchange students and I have organized a personal class scheduel. That means our classes are 3hrs of gym, 1hr of Japanise, 1hr of English, and 1hr of art. Classes finish at 4:30PM. I often say (almost all the time) with  Maïssane, the other French girl in the high school. We go to her house, we go on walks… until we’re too tired and then I get on the bus to go back home. To finish, I eat (often times alone becuase my host family works a lot) and then I go to bed. (And despite what my mom says, I do go to bed early!)

Q: Advice to people who want to go on exchange? /  Avis/ conseil pour quelqu’un qui veut faire une année d’échange?

A: Mon conseil concerne plus particulièrement les futurs étudiants en Corée du Sud mais peut surement être généralisé. Faites vous des amis de votre pays d’accueil !! Même si c’est dur, même s’ils sont extrêmement timide, rentrez leur dedans !

// My advice concerns particularly the future exchange students going to South Korea, but can also be generalized. Make friends with the natives of your host country!! It can be hard, even if they’re extremely shy, but just try!

Merci beaucoup Zoé! Thank you very much Zoe!

Mon Facebook : Zoé Troncy

Mon Instagram : zoetroncy

Journée Rotarienne de Jeunesse

I had the opportunity to travel to La Rochelle, a city on the west coast of France, with 535 other exchange students for a Rotary Conference with the President of Rotary International. We left early Friday morning for the 11 hour bus ride to La Rochelle. Friday night we arrived and met a ton of other exchange students from other districts in France!

Saturday went to a museum in Rochefort where we learned about the first ship to successfully travel from France to the USA. We then headed over to the conference center where we got to sit in on a conference with the persident of Rotary International and hear 7 French ex-exchange students talk about their year abroad and what they’re doing now. It was really eye opening to hear how these people took the skills they learned from their exchange year and used it for their jobs, language, etc.  

Now that I only have 3 more months of my exchange year, I realized that now is the time to really take advantage of every opportunity I get here in France because it will soon be over. One point the president made that I really liked was during your exchange year, you will come across a person who makes a positive impact in your year abroad and you will also make an impact in someone else’s year abroad. I’ve realized that this is so true and I’m experiencing it hands on. I have met people from literally all of the world during my time here in France and with each person I met, I learned something about their culture and that’s one of my favorite things about studying abroad. Getting to learn about other cultures and languages while also sharing your own makes is an experience I’ll never forget.

The rest of the conference, us exchange students sang the national anthem of each of our countries and dressed up in traditional clothing from our country. We then performed a talent show put onby each district of exchange students in France. My district, D1780, sang a song from Les Misérables, in French of course! It was pretty amazing watching everyone playing an instrument, dancing, and singing in different languages.

Sunday was our last day in La Rochelle so we spent it at the Aquarium! We then headed back home to the Rhône-Alpes region where we live. I am so grateful I got to go on this trip because it made me realize I’m not the only one on this journey, there are several exchange students around the world who are experiencin the same struggles and successes as me!

I also got to exchange a bunch of pins with the other exchange students, so now my blazer is full of pins from all over the world! [PS. I have a blazer with pins on it because it is a Rotary tradition. Every Rotary exchange student brings pins from their home country to exchange with the other students they meet and by the end of the year, you bring home a bunch of tiny pieces of the world with you- aka the pins ;]


I even made it in a picture on a local french news site, where they talked about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program and the conference in La Rochelle!

7 meses na França

É oficial!

Eu estou aqui na França já tem 7 meses! O tempo passa muito rápido, eu não posso acreditar que só tem mais 3 meses restante do meu intercâmbio! Esse ano foi muito difícil pra mim mas eu aprendi muitas coisas e estou agradecida por essa oportunidade, uma experiência incrível que eu não teria nos Estados Unidos. Esses 7 meses na França tive a oportunidade de aprender francês, fiz muitas lembranças, e conhecei muitas pessoas extraodinários. Eu tive muita sorte de ter sido intercambista e ter feito conexão com estudantes de vários países. Eu acho que teria sido difícil se eu não tivesse feito tanta amizade maravilhosa com os intercambistas. Eles me trazem muita alegria e estão disponíveis para ajudar um o outro. Quando eu voltar para os Estados Unidos sentirei muitas saudades, mas estou ansiosa para começar a outra fase da minha vida.

Em agosto eu vou mudar para a Universidade de Tampa, Florida onde eu já conheci vários Brasileiros que também irão para essa universidade! Eu espero visitar o Brasil breve para ver toda minha família. Eu tenho saudades de todos e deste país maravilhoso.

Beijos!

TOUR du MONDE

HELLO. OI. HOLA. CIAO. GUTEN TAG. HALLO. NAMASTE. NI HAO. KONNICHIWA. SALUT.

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in an international culture fair, right here in Chambéry a.k.a. Tour du Monde au Manège representing the United States of America along with people from 40 other countries around the world! This year, the country of honor was México and being that I have a lot of exchange student friends who are Mexican, I got to learn a lot about their culture, speak a little bit of Spanish, and try some delicious Mexican food!

I also met some of the coolest people at the fair… THE BRAZILIANS! 😉 It felt like I was back in Brazil talking to them in Portuguese, learning Samba, and eating delicious Brazilian food!

And of course, the USA! I represented the States with 5 other Americans who are spending a semester/ year abroad at the University here in Chambéry! IMG_0703

I also made friends with the representatives of India, Germany, China… I could go on and on about all the people I met and what I learned about their countries, but I don’t think I have enough space to write about all the cool things I experienced during the 2 days! To sum it up, I made some of the greatest memories, got to experience so many cultures, and make so many new friendships.

I realized you don’t need to come from the same place, do things the same way, or even speak the same language to be friends. All it takes is an open mindset! I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to participate in an event like this, and I look forward to sharing my culture and learning about others very soon!!