Before I take you through my own eyes on this beautiful journey, let's introduce myself first. Dear readers, my name is Paraskevi Eleni Bokou, I am 21 years old and with the Erasmus program, I am in France. I come from Greece, I am a law student at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and I am very happy to announce that I am finally studying, at least for six months at the Université de Bourgogne in the law department.
Why in France? I couldn't have preferred anything different. The land of arts, tastes, romance. Specifically, I am in Dijon, a beautiful country town, with incredible architecture, a peaceful town, full of vineyards and smells of ovens.
Let our journey begin.
While I had already been informed since March, that in the winter semester I would be in France for studies, I had not realized it. I started to realize it at the airport, when I said goodbye to my people. It was September 3, 2022. I woke up quite early, full of anxiety, joy, hopes, dreams. I packed my bags and was ready for Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens. My hope ? The ticket, which I held in my hands, signified my happiness. In a few hours, I would be where I had wanted to be since I was a child. When I walked through the gate, I was sure of my decision. My support was my parents, who always believe in me and are there for my every new beginning. As well as my friends, my second family. That's it. The plane took off and three whole hours later, with tears in my eyes, full of impatience, I arrived at Lyon airport. My feelings were indescribable. When the pilot welcomed us to France, I burst into tears. I waited patiently for my bags and then I had to take the flixbus, heading to the city of Dijon. And suddenly I'm on the bus, late afternoon to my final destination. I was feeling a lot of emotions. I was very happy, but also quite anxious, if I will succeed. But already the people of France helped me from the moment I landed, until I reached Dijon. It was about eleven at night, and I saw a quiet, beautiful and welcoming city. I headed to the apartment I had booked for the night with the help of
@livinfrance , I was going to rest and go to my university the next day. I closed my eyes quite tired and then I realized that I wasn't dreaming, I was actually in France.
The next day, full of joy and impatience, I would get to know the university, which hosted me. First, the Crous Residence team showed me my room, Vauban building, number 430. I still remember it and miss it. The team leaders were very kind to me. They explained the questions I had and after I got settled, I went to the school's secretariat, so I could see the courses and the classrooms. I also registered at the University and they even gave us some gifts for the new university year.
I won't hide from you that my first day in the classroom was quite stressful. I was shy to speak and express myself, but the professors and fellow students helped me and were kind to me. They embraced me, put me in their company and I felt one with the whole.
We ate lunch in the school restaurant and then sat on the lawns and played games. When exam time approached, the library became our second home. I didn't feel like I was a 'foreigner'. Especially, I want to thank my friend Juliette for her excessive love and in fact many times she asked me to teach her some words in Greek!
Beyond all this, however, the university offers a multitude of activities! I tried Bachata , Yoga , Pilates , Zumba , Tennis and I would love to kayak too, but unfortunately I couldn't fit it into my schedule.
A University full of opportunities, in terms of education, literacy, but also entertainment.
But beyond the beauty of the University campus, the city of Dijon will steal your heart. The city center from the University is only a 20-minute walk away. However, it has a very good transport system. The tram runs from the train station to the University. Plenty of buses, which can take you in any direction you want.
The buildings are imposing and in fact the city center is protected by UNESCO. It really looks like a fairy tale. You can visit the museums, such as the Beaux Arts, the parks for picnics, the lake for jogging.
We visited the opera for first time, and it was unique. The chord of all the musical instruments, traveled you to other places.
A city quiet and lively at the same time. Students breathe life into Pubs. Besides pubs, our favorite place was a mall where you could play bowling and various other games.
At night, the city fascinates you and enchants you even more with the wonderful lights. Especially during Christmas, everything is decorated and bright. There is an ice rink for all ages and cinnamon rolls are everywhere.
And since we mentioned food, let me inform you at this point that France can steal your heart from the sweets, cold meats, cheeses and wine it offers. I didn't try food many times in restaurants. But I tried the traditional food of Dijon, veal Burgundy and snails. My palate went crazy from the feast of these flavors. Of course, Kebabs and French Tacos have a special place in my heart. Every night also, with the guys we bought cheeses, such as Camaber, cold meats, wines (especially rosé) and we all got together!
But my favorite part was the breakfasts in the ovens! Fresh croissants, tarts, macarons! I will never forget their sweets! I think they have priority! French bakers and pastry chefs are fantastic at their work. Almost every Sunday morning we went to the bakery with my friends, it was our
Every new beginning has difficulties. Surprisingly, in this part I did not have any difficulty at all. All Erasmus guys were and are fantastic people. I met people from all over the world. The shared kitchen in our apartment helped us get even closer to each other. We exchanged ideas, cooking recipes, stories and shared everything we had! I singled out my friend Teressa, the Italian girl, who became my partner traveler.
Of course I can't leave out the kids from Greece, who I now consider my family! Full evenings with music, laughter, dancing, conversations!
Through the activities of ESN DIJON you never felt alone! Everyone was there for you, and you for them!
But I will not forget my French friends, whom I am waiting for in Greece!
I can't tell you how beautiful it is to meet people in programs like this! They become real friends, a second family.
And with this family, we traveled to the beauties of France and beyond.
The city of Dijon is located in such a geographical point, which allows you to get to know new cities, new countries.
Beaune , Besançon , Lyon, Grenoble, Annecy, Colmar, Strasbourg, Basel (Switzerland), are some of the places we visited! But our favorites were obviously Paris and Chamonix – Mont Blanc.
Life experiences! You get to know new cultures, new civilizations, you broaden your horizons!
Beyond that, however, you learn to respect the people you travel with! You live your life to the fullest and find yourself in places that are very difficult to find again, like us in the French Alps.
Everything looks like a fairy tale, but it really happened in reality! France enchanted me! I realized that the greatest happiness in life is to chase your dreams, to travel, to know new experiences. Don't be afraid, take a risk and I promise you won't be disappointed.
Dear readers, thank you for reading my experience. I hope I have taken you on a journey, enchanted you and promise me that you will dare too! And I have something to tell you, my story with France is not over, I will be back soon, to continue my dream. Thank you for your support and if you want , you can help me by clicking Like. À bientôt mes amies! Bisous.
Getting accepted into Université Bourgogne Franche Comte in Dijon for a first year Master program was an absolute dream come true for me. Now that I'm enrolled and fully engrossed in the program, I can only say it was well worth the search.
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