I Made It!

by EmilyEsposito

After a delayed flight, a missed train, a canceled train and being temporarily homeless, I have finally settled into my new city!


I spent a few days in Toulouse, one of the biggest student cities in France. I already can’t wait to go back and luckily it’s a short train ride away from Tarbes. Toulouse is an incredibly young and vibrant city with so many things to do: there are parks, museums, beautiful churches, shopping and a great nightlife. It’s also called La Ville Rose because all the buildings are an orangey-pink color.

Basilica of St. Sernin, Toulouse

I find the people in Toulouse (and in my city) much more open and friendlier than the people in Aix. Perhaps it’s thanks to the strong Spanish influence; Toulouse has more Spanish inhabitants than any other city in France!

La mairie, townhall, of Tarbes

Tarbes isn’t as exciting as Toulouse, but it is very charming. There are a fair amount of students, gorgeous parks, all the major stores (including H&M!) and the most amazing marché ever. You can walk anywhere and everyone is willing to help you out. For example, since the measurements are all different here, a saleswoman spent 30 minutes helping me find the right sized linens for my bed.

Only in France would your landlord leave you plates of pastries in your apartment!

I have met a bunch of other language assistants and can’t wait to meet more. This program provides a great network; in almost every city or village in this region, there will be one assistant that could show me around or let me stay with him or her. I am happy I have many friends already, and now I just need to make French friends!

Sometimes I forget that I actually came to France to work. I have an orientation tomorrow where I will meet more assistants, learn where I will be teaching and hopefully meet my teachers. I hope my students are ready for their crash course in American culture – peanut butter included.