Orsolya graduated with a BA Honors in French in 2016 and is currently studying for an MBA at the UofA while also working at the Registrar’s Office as a Student Services Advisor. Orsolya is initially from Romania and also has a passion for languages, which prompted her decision to go to La Rochelle as a Teaching Assistant.
What were some of your favourite memories of your time in La Rochelle?
I have so many fond memories of being in La Rochelle! Because food is so important in the French culture, it’s an amazing experience in itself. I especially loved all the local cuisine – in the afternoons after classes we tried out many different restaurants, bistros, and bakeries, which are located on almost every corner, including where my host mom lived. Every morning I could go and buy a fresh chocolate croissant right from the corner bakery and sometimes I would buy food and go to the beach and mark assignments. We would regularly take the students to Ernest, which is an ice-cream shop featuring 50 to 60 different flavours! Many of these food establishments are run by families, who are all so welcoming and friendly!
I also loved the families that I met and stayed with. We often had potlucks and all the families were very accommodating and really involved with the students. My host mom is an artist and she would organize outings for me, and so I was privileged to go to a lot of exhibits and art showings.
What did you appreciate about the city and its locals?
La Rochelle is a smaller city, which makes it very easy to navigate, and it’s also very dynamic and full of life. The people in La Rochelle are really welcoming and excited to show others their culture. During our time there we took part in many dance and music festivals, art shows, and cultural exhibits; there was always so much to do! Our professor, Dr. Julie Tarif arranged a lot of outings for us so every week we would go on a short trip to explore the local area. My favorite excursion was the bike tour through La Rochelle, when we visited multiple artists' workshops and galleries and saw their art up close and gained insight into how they work. On the tour we saw a pottery, met painters, handbag makers, a photographer and many others, all while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the city.
Why would you recommend a study abroad program to interested students?
Studying abroad is the best way to immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture, and I think it’s important to experience how other people live.
Interview with Orsolya Kertesz, February 27, 2018. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Guest posts present the experiences and viewpoints of Arts students, faculty, staff and alumni. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.