France is a beautiful place, I am glad to have been raised and educated there. But when people think of France, they usually think of Paris, or stereotypes of the cold, rude, and distant Parisian. However, just like America, France is quite big and diverse.
I was raised in Montpellier, South of France. Located on the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, it is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Nice. People in Montpellier tend to be very outdoorsy because, let’s be serious, if you live in the most beautiful Area of France, why would you want to spend time inside?
Another great thing about Montpellier is that it is really close to Spain, like we are good neighbors. So it will only take you a few hours by TGV train ride to get to Spain. Words can’t express how much I love Montpellier. But I am a big traveler, for my mother is from Morocco and my father from West Africa/Mali. I had been to both places and to other places in Africa like South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Burkina-Faso.
I’ve also been to a lot of places in Europe like Spain (our cool neighbors), Rome, London, Paris (now I’m laughing), Switzerland, Monaco (so far my favorite), Amsterdam, and Berlin. Most people like me who have a diverse background due to both parents, who are from different countries and tend to travel a lot, but I think that being raised in a place like Montpellier also has something to do with it, because in Europe places are so close to one another that most people tend to travel to different countries taking the TGV almost every other weekend.
I would encourage CBU students to enjoy this experience, because traveling has done so much for me. It helps you know or discover different people, and trust me when I say this: you will be amazed by how people are different in both good and awkward ways. For instance: Moroccans would be really offended if you walked into their living room with your shoes on, and a Spaniard would feel insulted if you asked them do any task during Siesta time. And, of course, a typical person from Montpellier (myself) will be disappointed if you have no diverse background and have no interest in traveling around the world. So travel, explore the world, and come back here and let me know how it went! — Bijou Coulibaly (Business Administration ’16)
Stop by the Study Abroad Office and visit Bijou and discuss her adventures and upcoming trips for CBU.