My name is Patrick Rowe and I chose to study abroad in France because I wanted to improve my skills with the French language. When I was deciding where to study abroad, I had two options, Rouen or Reims. I was told that Reims is smaller and fewer people will speak English, compared to Rouen. That is exactly what I wanted. A community that speaks less English, means that I will have to use my French skills to communicate more. So, I chose Reims.
My first impressions were positive. If I needed help, people were willing to help me the best they could. The first night I was in Reims, I was staying in a hotel because I could not check-in to my apartment. So I went out and walked around. I noticed how pretty the city was and all of the beautiful art and architecture in the city. But I still needed to find somewhere to eat. A little restaurant near my hotel caught my eye, so I went in. I walked up to the host and he spoke French rather quickly. I did not know how to respond so I asked if he spoke English, fortunately, he did. And he made sure that I was taken care of in the restaurant. The next day I made my way to the pharmacy because I needed some soap and shampoo. One of the employees came up to me and asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I said “yes I was” and I told her what I needed. She described different products to me and what they were supposed to do. But she understood that I was not fluent in French, so for some words, she had to define them. The main example that sticks out in my head is the French word for “dandruff.” That is a word I have never heard before and she could tell. So she described it as the white flakes that sometimes fall from your head. And I understood perfectly. And these are not special cases, almost all the people I have encountered in Reims have been nice and helpful!