It’s been more than a month since my arrival, but things have only recently calmed down. I believe that I’m past the first few weeks of trying to sort my life out, finding friends, going to ridiculous Erasmus parties every day, and visiting the neighbouring tourist sites (Although there’s still an average of 1 ridiculous Erasmus party and 1 neighbouring tourist site per week). So far, life in Aix has been incredibly easy and inexplicably hard at the same time. Unfortunately I couldn’t say I’m making it easier for myself.
First, my concerns were not completely unfounded as it turned out that there were problems with my accomodation and by the time I arrived I didn’t have any. I had to improvise and spent the first night at some kind French students’ apartment (s/o to Clara and Aymeric, I’m very grateful). This problem was solved on the second day, when I could finally face the true face of French bureaucracy: unnecessarily long and complicated, and people can get angry if you don’t speak their language.
Eventually I managed to overcome the initial problems and I started making friends and all these things people do on their year abroad. Fortunately there was no Fresher’s week (imagine having two of THE_BEST_WEEK_OF_YOUR_LIFE) but the first week was something similar: day trips, night-outs so you can get to know all these people. I made friends with some really nice people and together we went to these parties that I would usually definitely avoid. They’re not actually that bad. I also went to rugby training, and having never played rugby I was quite good, even scoring a try. Then I got injured and sometimes it’s painful even to walk. Still a better performance than England in the world cup though.
The region is beautiful: travelling around is really cheap and there are plenty of places here that are worth visiting. Here are some of them:
Marseille: the view from Notre-Dame de la Garde is incredible. I also went to a rooftop party and a football match on which day a fellow Hungarian was shot near the train station. Apparently Marseille is the most dangerous city in France (not quite as cool as having the worst night club in the world)
Cassis: a small, coastal town inhabited by locals and rich football players. I went there separately and didn’t find the big Erasmus group but made friends with one of the few French guys at the beach who wasn’t naked.
Arles: a historical city which also holds bull-runs. We managed to go there on the weekend of the bull run but before the actual event and it was full of tourists and steel barriers.
Montagne St-Victoire: Only 3 metres shorter than Hungary’s highest mountain (1011m). You can climb it and the view is nice.
Perhaps now you think that I’m not enjoying my year abroad as much as I could which is absolutely not true, I love almost every part of it and I’m actually very happy that I’m spending the whole year here, not just one semester.