Why did you choose this particular location to study abroad?
I don't really like cities, but Strasbourg is small. It has plenty to do on weekends, and it's in a good location for some traveling as well. Also, I'm interested in national identity today, since Strasbourg has been both German and French throughout its history.
What was the most meaningful interaction you have had with a local?
It's quite simple...I was just leaving the apartment building where I'm staying and an older man was checking his mail. The mailbox that I share with my host family hadn't shut all the way, and we stopped and chatted a little bit. We joked about why it hadn't shut, and then he ended up asking about the origin of my name. I always feel more comfortable talking to older people in French because I almost always understand them! It felt good to have a light-hearted easy conversation in French.
Have you had the opportunity to explore your city? Where have you ventured, and why did you select those places?
There's a park called Portales near where I'm living. It reminds me a bit of home, and it's perfect for walking, running, or eating lunch. There's another park called Orangerie, which is bigger and has a mini zoo and a large pond. Since cities stress me out, the parks are great places to have quiet time (plus I love nature). I haven't explored the museums yet, but there are plenty to choose from just within Strasbourg.
How does your major tie into your study abroad plans?
French is one of my majors, so I'm getting great practice. My other major is anthropology, and I'm hoping to do some capstone research related to national identity while I'm here.
During your experience thus far, how and what have you discovered in regard to German and France heritage within Strasbourg?
The houses, especially older farmhouses, look very German. The traditional food of the region is also more German than French. Many street signs have German names and honor important German-named figures. But, everyone speaks French, pronounces German street names with a French accent, and listens to French radio. They enjoy French cheese and value the label "made in France" on their products. They talk about themselves as either French or Alsatian. These are mostly just my observations.