Tag Archives: France

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Q&A: Nick Bondy

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with one of our Admissions Advisors to learn about his favorite moments from traveling with Forum-Nexus over the years, and how studying abroad has inspired him to pursue an international master’s degree. Get to know the adventurous and ambitious Nick Bondy… #ThisisForumNexus

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NB: I have lived in the Detroit Metro area of Michigan my entire life. I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in May of 2016 from the University of Detroit Mercy. I will be moving to Barcelona in the fall for the first leg of a traveling master’s program.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NB: I have participated in the Forum-Nexus programs for 2 summers now. In 2015 I was a student assistant, and in 2016 I was a staff member. I am very excited to return for round 3 this summer!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NB: As an Admissions Advisor, I am in charge of reaching out to interested students during the academic year. I answer questions about the program and share my experiences with them. I work with an Admissions Committee to recruit amazing students from around the world.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NB: I speak English fluently and I can speak Spanish at a conversational level; however, I try my best to learn the basics in every country that I visit. I can say please, thank you, hello, and cheers in about 10 languages!

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus?

NB: Forum-Nexus is unique because it’s hyperactive! In just 5 weeks students are able to see some of the top travel destinations of the world while also taking relevant courses and earning valuable credits. Even our fearless leader Dr. Hugo Hervitz is extremely active; he keeps things very positive and very fun for everyone.

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Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NB: Participation in FN adds depth to students’ abilities. It combines cross-cultural experience with higher education, building skills that many other students are unable to attain. On top of that, it lays the groundwork for a global network. Fellow students, staff, faculty, and our hosts at various universities and international companies are just some of the connections that FN students make and use to advance in their future careers.

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Q: Why are professional visits important for FN students?

NB: Professional visits are vital to the FN experience! Our professional visits are one of the coolest things that our program has to offer. The ability for students to see exactly what an international education can do for them is key. It allows them to not just see the potential for their future, but for the future of globalization itself.

Q: Which are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NB: One of my favorite cities of all time is Barcelona. I actually went to Spain for the first time in high school with my Spanish class. Barcelona is amazing to me because there is so much youth but also so much history. Not to mention there is a very large skateboarding scene, which I am a fan of. Chamonix is also absolutely breathtaking to me. I love the outdoors, so the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature during the program was an awesome surprise for me.

Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NB: When I was a student with Forum-Nexus, my absolute favorite activity was participating in a professional visit to the United Nations. I never imagined myself visiting the UN headquarters in Geneva! I was absolutely astounded when we walked through the halls and saw all of the huge conference rooms.

And as a staff member this past summer, I really enjoyed hiking in Chamonix, seeing waterfalls, gorges, and taking in the mountain views, which was a very nice break between the big cities.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NB: My best advice for fully benefitting from your experience with Forum-Nexus is to pause and reflect every few days or so to put the things you’re experiencing into perspective. This will help you fully understand what you can do with your international education.

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Q: What is one “life lesson” you’ve learned from your time with FN?

NB: One of the primary lessons that I have learned from my experiences with FN is to go with the flow; whether that means to fit into whatever culture you’re immersed in during any given time, or to deal with situations as they arise. This is an attitude that FN has caused me to adopt, and has allowed me to be a much more positive and independent person.

 Q: How many countries have you traveled to?

NB: I have traveled to 10 countries including the U.S. and Canada. I currently have a goal to hit 50 countries by the end of 2018.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NB: I am working on plans to travel to Amsterdam this summer, but there aren’t too many places that are not on my list!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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Summer 2017 Study Abroad Packing Guide

There’s nothing like a summer abroad in Europe, including the adventure of packing for a trip that is several weeks in length. We put together a packing guide, tailored to the Forum Europe Summer 2017: 9 Cities in 5 Weeks program, and recommended by longtime FN staffers. This list promotes light, efficient packing for hot to mild climates and everything in between. Feel free to customize this list of recommendations to your own personal needs and comforts. More packing tips and tricks to come!

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Europe Essentials

 Clothing:

-Casual attire for sightseeing, traveling, nightlife
-Casual professional attire for class
-Business casual attire for professional visits (recommended 5-8 outfits)
-Cocktail attire for graduation ceremony in Rhodes
-Active wear for swimming, hiking, exercising, etc.
-Comfortable walking shoes
-Comfortable dress shoes
-Sneakers
-1 light jacket *bring a rain jacket for multi-purpose wear

 Insider tip: 30 days on the road does not mean that 30 different outfits are needed. Mix and match clothes and pack light! Laundromats are available in each destination – use them to your advantage!

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Toiletries:

-tooth brush & toothpaste
-hair brush/comb
-razor/shaving cream
-contact/glasses care
-Advil/Tylenol and any prescriptions
-hair styling tools (straightener, curling iron)

Insider tip: There is a hair dryer in every hotel available by request
-shampoo/conditioner
-body wash
-feminine products, if applicable

 Insider tip: Most toiletries will be available at local markets and stores. Save room and buy the essentials once you make it to the first destination.

 Class supplies:

-One notebook/binder with paper
-Writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters)
-Required textbooks

Insider tip: A laptop/tablet is recommended but not absolutely necessary

Miscellaneous:

-Converters/adapters for all electronic items
-Chargers for electronics
-Euros  *We recommend bringing 150-200 euros upon arrival
-One bag/backpack and/or purse
-Passport
-Copies of credit cards, IDs, etc.

 Non-essential, but useful items

-A small fold-up umbrella
-Fold-up plastic bag for grocery shopping
-Sunscreen
-Sunglasses
-A hat for shade while walking around and sightseeing
-Hand sanitizer
-Camera
-Neck pillow for travel (insider recommendation)
-Portable charger/battery pack
-Travel journal
-Laundry detergent packets (can be purchased at markets)
-iPod/MP3 player
-Water bottle for refilling

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Packing hacks:

-roll clothing, instead of folding
-pack clothing items that are easy to mix and match
-place the heaviest items at the bottom (nearest to wheels) of the suitcase to properly balance weight
-leave 10-25% of your suitcase empty – depending on how much you plan to shop
-Bring a small Febreze bottle or dryer sheets to keep items in suitcase smelling fresh
-Hygienic items can be purchased at any time during the trip. Some things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. are provided by hotels.
-Keep essential items in your carry-on bag

Keep in mind…

-Most airlines have strict baggage policies. Check with each booked airline before packing/buying extra items to bring home.
-Each Forum-Nexus students is permitted one suitcase and one “carry-on” bag
-Pack light! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Suitcase: Maximum length: 26″ (66 cm), Maximum width: 20″ (51 cm), Maximum height: 12′ (30 cm). Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 cm). The weight should not exceed 40 lbs (9 kg).

Carry-on: Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 km). The weight should not exceed 20 lbs (9 kg).

 Happy packing! Europe, here we come.

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Q&A: NADINE FARRAG

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with longtime team member (6 years and counting!) Nadine Farrag to learn how traveling with FN has influenced her life thus far, what she does in her role with Forum-Nexus, and to hear what adventures she’s tackling next. Get to know our favorite Egyptian… #ThisisForumNexus!

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Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NF:  I was born in Egypt but lived in Saudi Arabia for the first two years of my life. Then I lived in Kuwait for six years until I returned to Egypt and have lived there ever since. My primary education was in Kuwait but l the rest of my school years and university occurred in Egypt. I studied Marketing and Journalism at the American University in Cairo and graduated in 2012.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NF: My first time with Forum-Nexus was in the summer of 2011 and I’ve been with the program ever since :)

This summer will be my 7th!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NF: I’m an Admissions Counselor  and I manage the team that supports students and prospective students from countries outside of the United States.  I also support the Marketing team through my involvement with our  marketing materials, and on-ground events and activities.

During the program, I help with logistics and the coordination of students’ activities and academics.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NF: I speak English and Arabic, and I know a little bit of French. I plan on learning Spanish next.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

NF: The experience one gets with Forum-Nexus is truly life-changing. The international exposure, the immense travel experience, and making lifelong international friends is not a combination that you come across everyday.

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I still remember my first year with Forum-Nexus. I left with a changed perspective, not just about the world, but about myself as well. With FN, you broaden your horizons, you discover things that you never thought existed; it all helps shape you into a better citizen of the world.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NF: Employers now look for candidates who can work under pressure, communicate with different people, and cope with anything. Students get that with Forum-Nexus because you get to interact with students from all over the world, learn to adapt to different cultures quickly, and gain exposure to a lot of different situations that you wouldn’t normally face in your home country.

FN also gives you an edge if you’re looking to work abroad; you’ve already been to at least 9 cities in a month!

Q: In your own words, what is special about Europe?  

NF: Every city is different than the other; you experience different cultures and cuisines. There’s a lot of heritage and beautiful scenery. Europe is indeed magical for hosting something for every taste!

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Q: Why is knowledge of Europe important?

NF: It’s a central part in the world and everything that happens there will affect you somehow. Take Brexit for example, or the financial crisis in Greece.

Q: What are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NF: That’s a very tough question because they’re all amazing in their own way. If I had to choose, I would pick Barcelona. I believe it combines everything that all cities in Europe offer. I love the language, the people, the energy. It has the beach, nightlife, scenery, heritage, and great cuisine. I think it’s so special to me because its atmosphere reminds me a bit of my home country, Egypt, so it feels like a second home. I’ve been to Barcelona around 8 times so far and I still find new places to visit every year!

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Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NF: Getting lost wandering around new streets probably – haha! Leaving the touristy places behind and exploring the real city like a local is always more fun.

Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NF: Make sure to explore as much of the city as you can. Every city we’re offering is a home to wonderful places and activities so plan in advance so you have enough time to experience them all. And definitely mingle with the locals. Everyone is so friendly.

Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NF:  I’m very interested in Asia. I went to Nepal last year and it was an amazing experience – very different from any traveling I’ve done before and I have traveled A LOT. Now with the plans of Forum-Nexus in Asia in 2018, I can’t wait already!

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 For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

 

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Q&A: Dr. Batia Cohen

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We chatted with Dr. Batia Cohen, professor of European Art and Architecture, to hear her take on the importance of international education. Get to know our wise and worldly faculty member, and learn how she enriches the FN team… #ThisisForumNexus

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Q: Tell us about your background. Which cities and countries have you lived in? Where did you study?

BC: I was born in Mexico City. I studied graphic design at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City. Later on I specialized in art history and got a PhD from the National University of Mexico (UNAM).

17 years ago I moved to Miami with my husband Rafael, where we raised our three daughters.

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Courtesy of Batia Cohen

Q: What languages do you speak?

BC: I speak four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Hebrew.

Q: What courses do you teach for Forum-Nexus during the summer?

BC: During the summer I teach European Art and Architecture. I also serve as the advisor of Independent Studies and Internships.

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Q: What are your academic and professional activities during the fall and spring?

BC: During the fall and spring I teach art history courses in the Miami area at several institutions, including the University of Miami and Florida International University.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

BC: Forum-Nexus is a great study abroad program where students can experience 9 exciting European cities while earning college credits. They learn first-hand about the different countries, cultures, and traditions, and about impressive art and architecture. While traveling with Forum-Nexus, students develop very close relationships with each other and with the professors. We all become a close family as we share exciting experiences while traveling.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

BC: Students who participate in FN  acquire a broader perspective on Europe and the world. They become more tolerant and open minded towards cultural differences. This will make them better prepared to tackle similar issues in their professional careers. They become more comfortable engaging with different cultures, adapting to their customs, and more willing to understand and empathize with different points of view.

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Q: Why are cultural and professional visits important for FN students?

BC: The cultural and professional visits enrich the overall experience of the students. The European institutions that open their doors to FN are world-class, and the students get to meet successful and influential leaders.

Q: What is special about Europe? Why is knowledge of Europe important?

BC: First of all, Europe is beautiful! The big cities, the little medieval towns, the countryside – they are all amazing. Furthermore, European countries have played such a prominent role in the history of ideas and in the development of western culture. Each country has a rich and proud history and tradition. It’s very important for an educated person to be familiar with it.

Q: Which are your favorite cities on the FN itinerary and why?

BC: One of my favorite cities is Barcelona because it has the best examples of 19th century architecture. By exploring its wide avenues we find ourselves submerged in the Modernismo era. The works of the famous architect Antoní Gaudí stand out, and the intricate decorations of the facades and structures capture my admiration every time. But I also love Barcelona for its overall atmosphere: the mountains, beaches, energy, and young vibe!

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Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from traveling?

BC: Be prepared for the unexpected. Enjoy every minute of it!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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A Weekend in Paris

While every city that we visited this month was incredible in its own way, my favorite city was Paris, France. My best friend Julia and I decided at the last minute to book a weekend trip to this magical city with a group of students who we had met the week before. To start, it was so wonderful to meet so many amazing students who quickly convinced us that the Paris weekend trip was a must. Soon after, we had our flights booked as well as a (surprisingly cheap) hotel room in a historic Parisian hotel.

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Photo courtesy of Allie M.

Following Friday class in Chamonix, our group piled into a van and made the trek from Chamonix to the Geneva airport in Switzerland. After an easy one hour flight from Geneva we arrived in the beautiful city of Paris, and it is safe to say that it was love at first sight. Further, my first impression of Paris was pure awe. As an iconic location that I have seen in pictures and movies for my entire life, it was truly a dream to be standing in the middle of it all. I soon realized that Paris is by no means overrated, but rather upholds a beauty and romance that cannot be portrayed in pictures or even described in words. More specifically, when walking through the streets, almost every building holds its own history, with monuments left and right. I also found that, in general, the city felt very clean, safe, and romantic. In addition to seeing many of the most famous monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Tuileries, I enjoyed some of the best meals of my life! For two and a half days I maintained a steady diet of croissants, macaroons, steak and frites, baguettes, cheese, and of course, the occasional French wine pairing. Specifically, our typical French breakfast at the world-famous Laduree was one of the best meals of the trip!

To add to this wonderful experience, Julia and I met up with our friend from our university at home who was studying abroad in Paris for a whole year. This was a great touch to our perfect weekend as we had our own personal tour guide to bring us to locations not frequented by tourists. This part of our trip really helped us get the flavor of the city through the eye of a local while seeing as much as we could in a short period of time.

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Photo courtesy of Allie M.

In this experience, I was pleasantly surprised to break some common stereotypes or misconceptions about the city. More specifically, while many warned me that Parisians dislike Americans and can be very rude, my experience actually proved the opposite. In my short trip, I met many friendly locals who were more than welcoming and willing to give recommendations and or directions.

Overall, my weekend in Paris was a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone taking this program in the future. In one short weekend I would recommend a picnic at the Eiffel Tower (with meats and cheeses from a local market), a walk through the Louvre, walking around the beautiful streets of Champs Elysee, taking a boat tour on the Seine river, and finally getting lost in the indescribable city with new friends!

By:  Alexandra M., Forum-Nexus 2016 Alumna

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Photo courtesy of Allie M.

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Destination 4: This is Paris!

Next, we’re sharing all about the fourth destination on the Forum Europe Summer 2017 itinerary and one of the most iconic cities in Europe… 12045794_10153086113137633_1622570489038539032_o

There’s a reason why Paris, France is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world; it’s everything good you’ve ever heard and more. Paris is the pulsing heart of French culture, politics, and business. The architecture, beauty, food, and glitz effortlessly captures the admiration of each visitor. To say the least, a real European excursion isn’t complete without a stop in the city of love.

So what’s a week in Paris like with Forum-Nexus? Read past accounts from our own alumni.

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Paris can cater to the desires of any traveler; there’s great shopping, art, museums, attractions, nightlife, food, and activities. While staying in the city of love, students will be able to stroll along the Seine river, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, say hello to Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and snap a picture of the Eiffel Tower, of course! Paris is home to several influential companies and international organizations, as well. Students will have the opportunity to participate in professional visits to places such as Le Cordon Bleu, OECD, and UNESCO. And don’t forget about classes, which will be held on the campus of the American Business School in Paris. On the weekend, students can participate in an optional Forum-Nexus day trip to the famous castles of the Loire Valley, or take an independent excursion to Amsterdam or London.

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Follow along on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about this beloved city and our Summer 2017 program.

Like they say, Paris is always a good idea!

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Chamonix: A French Alp Paradise

I live in a small town and have never been a huge fan of large cities, so it came as no surprise to me that Chamonix would be my favorite town during this trip.  Don’t get me wrong, I love how much there is to see/do/eat/explore/learn in larger cities, but I enjoy myself the most in quaint communities.  I like the idea of everyone knowing their neighbors and trusting one another.  Also, for a trip where less than a week is allotted in each destination, Chamonix was completely “doable.”  I left Chamonix  with plans to come back, but I also felt like I had seen the entire town and was comfortable to navigate through it myself.

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Chamonix is most famous for being a ski resort town during the winter months, but during the summer there is plenty to do as well.  The downtown part of Chamonix is small and picturesque. The main streets are lined with flowers and fountains, while also housing dozens of name brand stores.  The real beauty of the town lies in the views of the mountains surrounding it.  The buildings, which are primarily chateaus, are never more than a few stories, so postcard-worthy views can be seen at all times.  The mountains themselves cannot be described in either words or pictures.  They are too immense and breathtaking to justly depict.

As I mentioned earlier, Chamonix is condensed enough that it is “doable.”  Unlike other larger cities where I left with several activities I still wanted to do there, I did everything in Chamonix that I had planned, plus had time to find new things as well.  Although I had a good time in the downtown part of Chamonix, I found that I much preferred exploring the scenery away from town.  The first afternoon in Chamonix was dreary and cloudy, so sightseeing from the top of the mountain was postponed and Hugo led a hike instead.  We followed a stream up a mountain in the Gorges Diosaz Servoz.  I loved the bridges that laced back and forth across the stream.  Another event led by Hugo, taking the lift to the top of Le Brévent, was equally as enjoyable.  With few clouds in the sky, we were able to enjoy a view into both the Chamonix valley and of Mont Blanc, the iconic mountain of Chamonix.  Just a piece of advice for future FN students: Do any event or activity led by Hugo.  He knows the best things to do, and you honestly can’t not have a great time with his personality.

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Perhaps my favorite experience in Chamonix is when I went on a solo hike to Lac Blanc.  The hike itself was tough and steep, but the real challenge for me was finding the proper lift and hiking trail in the first place!  The entire 2 hours each way of the hike has panoramic views of the mountains.  The lake itself was amazing, the bluest water I had ever seen that was only more vivid being surrounding by snow and having a cloudless sky above.  I literally sat and tried to absorb the scene for several hours.  Although it was not my original plan to do the hike by myself, I’m actually glad it worked out that way.  Not having an agenda and being able to enjoy everything at my pace was very enjoyable.  I went on a similar unplanned adventure by myself in Barcelona, and I was equally as thankful to be able to experience part of that city on my own.  I would highly recommend that, providing that you feel comfortable and confident, future FN students try out traveling alone, even if for only a few hours.

While in France, my main goal was to eat a crepe.  I succeeded in this goal and actually ate around 5 during our few days in Chamonix.  My favorite was Nutella, but a savory ham and cheese crepe was a close second.  On the last night in this town, a group of us girls decided we wanted to go all out on a meal.  We shared among the table the notorious French dish of escargot, a.k.a. snails.  Although the texture was too chewy for my taste, it wasn’t half bad and I can cross that one off my bucket list.  For my main course that evening, I had tartiflette, a French potato cheese and bacon dish.  If I ever had to choose, this would be my last meal.  Even if you don’t take any of my other advice, trust me here and try tartiflette.

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While in Chamonix, I learned how to properly eat escargot, how to read hiking signs, how to wait for tartiflette to cool before consuming, to bring a waterproof raincoat everywhere, and that you can still get sunburnt when it’s cold. But most importantly, I learned that I love Chamonix and will have to come back in the future!

By: Alana E., FN 2016 Alumna

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