The first week of studying abroad, like the first week of any university, is an emotional rollercoaster. This period is filled with conflicting emotions such as excitement, exhaustion, delight, confusion, to name a few. The thrills of my first time in France swamped my anxiety in relation to staying with a host family and taking the French placement exam by far. I am frequently wide-eyed with amazement at my surroundings.
Though I was overwhelmed at the concept and practice of being in my homestay, the first morning I opened my windows wide to hear voices from a church choir in the crisp morning breeze. They were beautiful and dramatic and seemed to be coming from the mountains. Excitedly, I texted my mom, “The hills are literally alive with the sound of music.” Despite the stress, Grenoble, in only the first week, has been all I’ve ever dreamed and more.
A city surrounded by mountains and fraught with fascinating history, Grenoble draws attention from sportsmen and academics alike. The Belledonne, Chartreuse, and Vercors mountains offer majestic views from the centre-ville (city center) and brighten up even the rainiest of days (of which, we’ve only had one so far). Although I’ve only been here a week, I am certain I will never grow tired of this beauty.
Also adding to the beauty of Grenoble is the Bastille. Built in 1590 on the end of the Chartreuse mountain range, this fortress now attracts upwards of 600,000 tourists a year, and it is not hard to see why. The téléphérique (cable cars, or fondly known as “bubbles”) are a cheap option and have views of Isere River. Hikes to the Bastille are breathtaking and the trails begin not far from the centre-ville.
From the grand mountain ranges to the Sassenage caves, the enchanting centre-ville to the vibrant student life, Grenoble has something to offer for anyone seeking new adventures. As far as my new adventure is concerned, Grenoble has not ceased to amaze me at every turn.
Every step I take reminds me of how lucky I am to be here, studying in quite possibly the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. I chose Grenoble by chance, and it was one of the greatest choices I’ve ever made. The other students in the program and I constantly marvel at the proximity and allure of the Alps standing proudly and allowing the city to live up to its illustrious name: Grenoble, the Capital of the Alps.