Now that I’ve been in Tours for about a week and a half, I’ve settled into a routine. Here’s what it looks like:
8:00: Wake up, shower, and get dressed. I go down for breakfast around 8:30. Without fail, this always involves a lot of bread. I usually have about half a baguette with Speculoos (a kind of cookie butter–an intriguing and addictive discovery), homemade jam, and butter. I chat a little in French with my host mother and the other Georgetown student who’s staying with the same family before heading out for class at 9.
9:30: Class starts at L’Institut de Tourraine. My class, which focuses on French culture, is taught by a Georgetown professor and about ten of the thrity other Georgetown students in my program. Like everything else we do, it’s completely in French.
10:45: A quick break in the courtyard of L’Institut. I usually grab a coffee from this vending machine that makes shockingly good specialty drinks (for only half a euro!) and chat with friends.
11:00: Back to class. It involves a lot of discussion about different aspects of French culture, and the topic changes day to day. We’ve talked about everything from France’s relationship to the Francophone world to the French attitude towards leisure and work.
1:00: Class lets out, and we all head out to lunch. I’m a big fan of the nearby closed market, Les Halles, where I can find great quiches and sandwiches. I was shocked at how cheap the food is here–usually my lunch is less than five euros, which is considerably less expensive than anything you can find out in Georgetown!
Late afternoon: After lunch, I have a lot of free time. I love walking around Tours, which is small enough that you can get pretty much anywhere on foot, but big enough that there’s always something fun going on. Sometimes I browse boutiques with friends, or go for a walk in one of the many public parks. They’re heavily frequented by locals who spend their time reading, supervising their kids, or jogging through the manicured green space. At some point, I’ll sit in a cafe or in my bed to do homework before dinner.
8:00: Dinner! It took me a little while to get used to how late it is but I sit down every evening with my host family to eat. Since lunch is the main meal of the day, dinner is lighter than it is in the US – usually consisting of some kind of salad as an appetizer, some kind of rice dish, and a vegetable. Then we have small desserts, like goat cheese or some fruit. Of course, there’s a basket of baguette slices throughout the whole meal.
9:00: Dishes get cleared away, and my plans for what come next change from day to day. Sometimes, I play a “jeu de société,” like cards or Boggle (which is hard when it’s in French) with my host family. Usually, I finish up my remaining homework, and read a little bit. I’m in bed by 11 or 12. Bon nuit, Tours!