I have been in Tours for a couple of weeks. I’m definitely starting to miss the comforts of home, but at the same time, I’m getting more familiar with the area and the culture by the day. In my host home, there are three other students in my house. Two are from the US, and one of them is from Japan! It’s been really interesting living with her because I don’t speak Japanese, nor does she speak English, but we are still able to communicate through French. Classes have also been an adjustment. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are pretty easy to sit through, because class is from 9-12 with a 20 minute break in the middle. Tuesday and Thursday are harder because classes go until 4:45, and the structure of the day is a lot like high school. However, there is a relatively long lunch break and an area full of different options. We’ve also been doing excursions through the institute, which are day long trips to many different places across west central France. It’s been really interesting to see how much culture varies regionally through food, architecture, and language. As a group we went to Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint Michel, and La Rochelle. We also had a free weekend, so two of my friends and I decided to go to Bordeaux. This was the first time I had ever planned anything without my parents’ assistance so it was a little daunting, but it ended up being a lot easier than I thought. Bordeaux was the farthest south we had been, and it was completely different than Tours or Paris. The architecture had a lot of Spanish influence, and the food was different too. I had really good pizza, fantastic pastries, and we got to try a lot of wine at a reasonable cost. This was easily my favorite place yet, and it provided a really good ending to the program.