Being a foreigner in an unfamiliar place can be a little scary, even more so if you don’t speak the language. I was afraid of losing myself in the intimidating yet beautiful French culture and feeling as if I didn’t belong.

I am however glad to admit that I was wrong. I have now spent over a year in the gorgeous Cote d’Azur, during which I have managed to make the best set of friends from all over the world as well as enjoy the countless luxuries the French Riviera has to offer.

 After finding my place and building a foundation for myself at IUM, the luxuries soon followed. I was lucky enough to get close to people who were familiar with the city and lifestyle here and who were willing to give me a first hand French experience. Since then, after learning the language, the lifestyle, living in the small town of Beausoleil and studying in Monaco, the experience has given me so much I could only wish to return some day.

Now of course, when you say the South of France, you would naturally think sunny days on the beach.  As true as this may be, one of my most special experiences here was actually during Christmas, which I spent with my closest friends here in Monaco.

In order to fully exploit the time of the year, we looked to experience all that Monaco had to offer. This meant walking around the Christmas fair along the port in Fontvieille, huddled together with our little glasses of hot wine, it felt as if I were in another world. The lights, the decorations, the little food stalls set up giving out the most delicious smells, the attractions set up especially for Christmas all together made the whole experience a magical one.  Even the cold, which I am always complaining about and will never get used to, seemed to disappear. 

After spending the day in the city, we returned home with our shopping bags and ended the day in the perfect manner; hosting a magnificent Christmas dinner. The food of course was French cuisine, with foie gras et confiture de figue to start with, followed by filet mignon with potatoes and green beans and Crème brûlée for desert. Indeed, it was absolutely exquisite.

I could not have asked for a better way to spend an evening, which of course ended with us devouring several bottles of Bordeaux with cheese and exchanging presents.

My experience in France thus far has therefore been nothing short of delightful and I can safely say, in the words of Edith Piaf, “Je ne regrette rien”.

Zoha Jung / French Course Beginner/ BBA/ Fall Semester 2012