Finding the true meaning of ‘joie du vivre’ in Montpellier

Why on earth would I want to spend my third year abroad in France. For the sun? For the Mediterranean beaches? For the french cuisine and wine? Hardly enough incentive for me to go, and this before we even think about the french culture and haute-couture. Is this enough to inspire? Surely not.

The south of France has been a fond memory of mine since I was very small since it was often our chosen family holiday destination. It is one of those places that normally never fails to disappoint. Why would I stay at home thinking and reading about the beautiful Languedoc region when I could just pack up my bags and be there.

Just imagine passing your 100th Starbucks, PizzaHut and Nandos on your typical drab
British high-street everyday when you can swap this for Boulangeries, Patisseries and Brasseries. Rather than your tepid recycled coffee-chino-skinnie-frappa-no-one-knows-what-isio you can wither you hours away sipping a Pernod on ice with a dash of mountain water, served by an exquisitely dressed waiter at your beck and call. So throw away your disposable supposedly eco-friendly cardboard cups scrawled ineligibly with your name often spelt incorrectly and embrace the effortless charms of street café life in a sun drenched Mediterranean town.

Over and above these stereotypical thoughts swimming round my head, I am truly looking forward to the chance of being out of my comfort zone. Everyday menial tasks such as asking for help in a shop or ordering food in a restaurant will take on a new dimension abroad. What was so effortless and easy will become more of a challenge especially if you wish to go beyond the fail-safe option of the menu du jour.

However, I cannot just sit here writing this blog as though I won’t miss Edinburgh. I have grown to love this City very much indeed and I now consider it as my second home. I will miss the morning walks across the meadows and climbing up to Arthur’s seat even though this will be replaced by french cobbled streets and the blue sparkling sea. All in all, I am particularly lucky that my course offers such an opportunity and intend to relish every moment as I immerse myself in all things à la française!

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