I decided to mainly focus my blog on the differences I observe here in France, compared to my life in America. While there are plenty of differences you would expect when going to France, there are also many small differences too that even two months in I am still noticing. For today, I chose the most noticeable or relevant differences:
- The TransportationWhile in some cities in America, public transportation is heavily relied on, my area is nothing like that. I live in Michigan and I have never taken a public city bus there in my entire life! I, and everyone I know, relies on cars as their only form of transportation. It's not even very common to walk places to get around; If I need something from the cvs down the street, I still drive my car to get there. Furthermore if I have somewhere far to go, I drive there as well. Here in France, however, this is completely different. The citizens aren't eligible to receive a driver's license until they are 18, so no one in high school is even able to drive! That means to get to school they either need a parent to drop them off or they can use public transportation. That is clearly a staple in French life because people from all ages use the tram, metro, and busses. Aside from that, people walk a lot more. It is not common to take their car short distances because it seems to me they are all very used to walking! This difference took some getting used to and honestly I miss driving, but I do think it is very interesting and convenient!
- The FashionWhen I say the fashion is different, I am mostly focusing on high school age students. The kids in my American school wear things like jeans, sweatpants, leggings, t-shirts, and other casual attire. They don't really try to keep it conservative or classy and if you dress fancy you will be asked why. I was fine with this- it's easy and quick to just throw casual attire on. In France, however, it's a completely different story. The students in my opinion dress like they're going out every day! They like to wear lots of fur, sparkles, gems and jewelry. Red lipstick is also extremely common, whereas in my school you would most likely be judged for wearing something that bold. The clothing and style in France is really cool to me because I feel like I can express myself more and put together interesting outfits with the confidence to wear them to school. Although, it is nice sometimes in Michigan to be able to wake up, throw on some sweatpants, and go.
- The StoresThe stores in Michigan are very generalized and typically have almost every category of item in each one. When people need their typical groceries, they go to the same store to get them. We have a few different grocery stores, some health food stores, and of course the bulk stores like Costco. In France, this is very different. While you can get a good amount of items from one store, this is typically not how they like to do things. The people here like to get their items from specialized stores such as bread from bakeries and meat from delis, rather than getting them both at a supermarket. This way they are getting more quality items as they are the focus of the business they're buying from. This is just a big difference to me personally because if I wanted a baguette one day in Michigan, I wouldn't look for a bakery nearby, I'd just head to the closest grocery store. Here in Toulouse, though, I would walk 30 seconds down the street to the bakery and buy one for .95 euro!
These are just some of the first big differences that come to mind, though there are plenty more. That's all for now, bonne journée!