Kerstin in Grenoble

Bonjour. My name My name is Kerstin Spath, I am 21 years old and I study European Studies at Maastricht University. The upcoming semester I attend Sciences Po in Grenoble, France. While I have spent numerous summers in different parts of l´Hexagon I am ready to move beyond superficial touristy impressions and look forward to experience the French “savoir vivre”. Inspired by François Lelord novel Le voyage d'Hector et la recherche du bonheur in which a psychologists embarks on a journey to unleash the roots of happiness, I want to collect lessons I come to know while studying abroad.

Leçon 11: La France- une nation en grève

Leçon 11: La France- une nation en grève

I always thought that Germans liked to go on strike, but being in France has proven me otherwise. Since my arrival in August, I have been victim to the French right to go on strike five times. I kicked my heels when waiting for the bus stop to go to ...

Leçon 10- Sometimes, you need to take a break from France

Leçon 10- Sometimes, you need to take a break from France

Unlike most of my Erasmus friends, who spent our week off from university in the South of France or Paris, I decided to go north to visit my boyfriend who is currently doing his Erasmus in Helsinki. After all, love takes you places, right? As I have ...

Leçon 9: Faire la bise – n´est pas si simple comme bonjour

Leçon 9: Faire la bise – n´est pas si simple comme bonjour

Whereas people in Germany (or the Netherlands) shake hands, wave hello or hug (depending on the level of intimacy), French people kiss. La bise is the French way to say hello, to say goodbye, to say thank you. In France, the handshake as a greeting, ...

Leçon 8- Le bonheur, c’est une bonne marche au milieu de belles montagnes inconnues

Leçon 8- Le bonheur, c’est une bonne marche au milieu de belles montagnes inconnues

Who doesn´t recognize this feeling of being caught up in our everyday responsibilities? Too often, we are occupied with ticking off our to-do list or busy running from one appointment to another. In the haste of moments like this, we too easily...

Leçon 7- Les sept commandements du pain français

Leçon 7- Les sept commandements du pain français

There admittedly exists this stereotype of French people surviving on nothing but baguette, fromage et vin rouge. Baguette has established itself as a symbol of French culture next to the Tour Eiffel. It is quintessentially French and doubtlessly ind...

Leçon 6- Arrêtez de procrastiner

Leçon 6- Arrêtez de procrastiner

We all have one, either randomly collected in our head or neatly jotted down in a little notebook. A bucket list- a list of achievements or experiences we hope to accomplish during our lifetime. I belong to category number two. I possess a little ...

Leçon 5: Il n´y a pas de place pour remplacer chez-soi

Leçon 5: Il n´y a pas de place pour remplacer chez-soi

I would lie if I said that my time so far in Grenoble has been a succession of picture-perfect memories and unforgettable days of intercultural exchange. After a couple of weeks in l´Hexagon, I admit that the rose-colored glasses have slipped s...

Leçon 4- Putain : un mot-clé français

Leçon 4- Putain : un mot-clé français

People always say that French is a difficult language. And it surely qualifies as challenging with all its irregular verbs, its exceptions to the rules and its exceptions to the expectations. But there seems to be an unofficial keyword that can be us...

Leçon 3 - J´ai trouvé mon bonheur au marché

Leçon 3 - J´ai trouvé mon bonheur au marché

Barrels filled with olives and tapenade- green or black. Cases full of tomatoes- Coeur de Boef, Cherry Tomatoes, Sunrise Bumble Bee, Romanesco or Green Zebra. Savon de Marseille, bags filled with lavender or handmade basketry deftly laid out. Stalls ...

Leçon 2- Il y a de la lumière au bout du tunnel!

Leçon 2- Il y a de la lumière au bout du tunnel!

Before starting university in Grenoble, I thought it would be a good idea to discover France´s beauty, get to know the region and meet locals. Where better to go to than the French Riviera, right? Though, I must admit that I would lie if I s...

Leçon1- Contenance

Leçon1- Contenance

Germany- a country at the heart of Europe which is infamously famous for its affiliation for bureaucracy and (compulsive) orderliness. This is nothing new to me as the need for order is a strand running through my DNA. In case I neglected this &ld...

Feeling four years all over again

Feeling four years all over again

Let me tell you, biking in Maastricht is a dangerous venture. One sunny evening, I was on my way to UM Sports. I packed my things and hopped on my bike. Little did I know that the alight would be anything but elegant. I cycled up Tongersestraat, ente...

Europe without the EU? Unthinkable

Europe without the EU? Unthinkable

“We should not begin to speak of Europe first but instead, think of all continents, countries and individuals as standing on equal terms”. In times of Donald Trump and wide-spread populist sentiments it is easy to follow this line of thin...

I´d take a coffee with my literature

I´d take a coffee with my literature

Today, I spent all day at Koffie. After my friends had continued to enthuse about its comfortable atmosphere, I wanted to check it out myself. According to their stories, the vibrant coffee house has turned into a popular alternative to the static li...