The next morning we woke up and met to go to our school, which is called SKEMA. The school is located in a town called Sophia-Antipolis (Greek origin!) which is a technology park where a lot of corporations have headquarters or branches. The catch-22 is that you would hardly know if not told. The French government has strict laws about how high the buildings can go, so they appear in between trees and forests, and that is exactly how SKEMA is as well. It’s asthetically beautiful.
We walked into the school and were greeted by other students outside of our program, who were considered ‘international exchange students’. We drank coffee and ate croissants while meeting each other. I met students from Germany, England, Singapore, Australia and all across the United States. It was so cool, and it was one of the things that originally drew me to the program.
The lunch was rather interesting, and the orientation was lengthy. I’m really glad we go through a program because it seems like CEA takes care of all the things that may be hard to figure out—French health care, passport forms, etc.
After a long day, we took the bus back to Antibes but decided to stop at the large market that was on the way back called Carefourre. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t find it (it’s three times as big as walmart apparently) and went to some random IKEA like furniture store.
Once back in Antibes, we found a store that was a mix between a target, whole foods and department stores. It was still hard to navigate and things are very different in Europe and France in general. For one, food is sold in much smaller quantities, more often. You also are responsible to bring your own bags, but if you don’t you can buy them.
After coming home we all took a long nap. We had organized a facebook group of exchange students earlier in the day and decided to all meet at a local bar, but after waking up at 10:30 we all felt terrible. With a short pep talk we made it to the bar around 11:30 only to find out it closed at 12. The atmosphere was awesome, with live music and a lot of people from our program.
We wanted to stay out and made friends with some locals who told us about some clubs in the next town over. The whole thing reminded me a lot of New York and promotors and it ended up being a very fun night!