6 months: 8 countries, 14 cities

My post-grad plan, my redo of study abroad and my year of teaching English in France is over! What an experience, what a trip.



Cities I visited: Reykjavik

Landmarks I visited: Viking World Museum, Blue Lagoon



Cities I visited: Lyon, Bourg-en-Bresse, Paris, Amiens, Grenoble, Annecy

Towns I visited: Oyonnax, Bellignat, Charix, Apremont, Samognat, Creil, Montataire, Nogent-sur-Oise, Pierrefonds, Versailles, Beauvais, Perouges, Villefranche-sur-Saone, Nantua Continue reading

Color me Rad in Lyon

A lot of you have probably heard of- or seen photos of- the Color Me Rad 5K. Its now a worldwide event that donates some of their proceeds to various charities. To sum it up, its a 5K race/walk that people get drenched in colorful paint or powder, depending on the location. I’ve wanted to run one for a few years and was pretty disappointed when the Color Run in my college town of Geneseo took place when I was studying abroad in France! (I survived, though. I was in France, after all!) So when I heard back in September that Color Me Rad would be coming to Lyon, I signed right up!


Before the race….

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Showing your places to others

One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, is getting to bring people to the places you like so much, and I was for sure going for that when Adam visited! He had never been to Lyon or anywhere in the Rhone Alpes region, so I was super excited to show him the city that made me want to apply for TAPIF, Lyon, and in addition the city that I have to pass through every. single. time. I want to leave Oyonnax! (For those of you wondering, that is Bourg-en-Bresse!).


The main place I wanted to take Adam was the Royal Monastery of Brou that I first visited in October. Its free for EU residents under 26, and so we enjoyed exploring the monastery and grounds together.  Continue reading

Two train anecdotes

That time the train took off in the opposite direction without telling anyone

I had the idea that when Adam arrived early in the afternoon, he could take the train straight to Lyon instead of Oyonnax and we could spend the afternoon sightseeing, as of course I was going to bring him there anyway! So there I was, waiting at the Lyon Perrache train station, seeing that his train would arrive any minute, when he called me and said that he thought his train was leaving Lyon. (There are 2 train stations, TGV passes through Part Dieu to get to Perrache where the tourist sites are).

“Um, what? Are you sure? What do you see?”

“Trees, Nathalie. I’m not in the city anymore.” Continue reading

Visiting Lyon

One of the reasons I was so keen on going back to France through TAPIF was my December 2013 visit to Lyon. I absolutely fell in love with the city. It was one of those experiences where you can envision  yourself in a certain place and realize there was so much opportunity in one city. I fell in love with Lyon, applied to TAPIF the Académie de Lyon as my first choice, was accepted, and voila!

Well, not quite.

Although I desperately wanted to live in Lyon, the commute to my school placement in Oyonnax was too much to attempt 4 times a week. However, I will certainly be visiting Lyon many times over the course of this stint in France: there`s so much to see! So the first weekend I was in France, I boarded a train heading to Lyon. I went with a visiting Australian high school math teacher, Susanna, who hadn`t had a chance to go. There was a picnic planned for other assistants throughout the Académie, which was to be the highlight of the day trip. Continue reading

And back to France I go!

I have an exciting announcement to make: I’ve officially been accepted by the TAPIF program to work as an English teaching assistant in Lyon, France for the 2015-2016 school year! I’ve been hearing my French professor at Geneseo advertise this program every year to upperclassmen unsure about their post-graduation plans, and immediately knew it was a program I’d apply for. Several of my fellow Geneseo students have participated in cities ranging from Rouen to Nantes to Paris, and I am honored to be among them! This is a phenomenal opportunity for me to postpone the real world at least another year, gain some experience teaching to determine whether that’s a career path I’d like to go down, travel more around Europe, and improve my French skills!

Find out more about TAPIF here: http://highereducation.frenchculture.org/

Find out more about TAPIF here: http://highereducation.frenchculture.org/

What is TAPIF? 

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9 months: 11 countries, 29 cities.

My wonderful, amazing, cliche life-changing study abroad year is at an end, and I find I’ll like to remember all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit. So for one blog post let’s explore the trips I’ve managed to take since I arrived in Montpellier on August 17, 2013.

1. Francefrench flag

Cities I visited: Aix-en-Provence, Annecy, Arles, Avignon, Carcassonne, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Narbonne, Nice, Nimes, Paris, Perpignan,  Rouen, Toulouse Continue reading

Christmas markets of France…(and Germany and Austria)

One of the best things about studying abroad during the fall semester (and the full year!) is the array of Christmas markets than you can enjoy. Europe really does it up for Christmas, and French Christmas markets are spectacular, along with those of other nations’! Here’s a roundup of the Christmas markets I was able to attend in 2013!

Update: Christmas market additions from 2015!


Of course, the that I knew the best is the one near which I lived! The Christmas market was located within the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle- or park at the end of the Place de la Comédie. The two main passages were lined with chalets selling chocolates, jewelry, scarves, Christmas tree ornaments, decorations, hot wine, or food. A big attraction was the ice skating rink located at the front of all the boutiques, with both French and American Christmas carols playing for the skaters. This first Christmas market was where I- along with all the study abroad students- developed a taste for vin chaud, or mulled wine. You can learn more about the Montpellier Christmas market here.


“Les Hivernales”: the name given to the Montpellier market

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