Today’s blog post comes to us from Ohio University student & #APIabroad blogger Courtney Talbot. She has just wrapped up her study abroad program in beautiful Caen, France. Today she’s sharing her reflections!
On my last night with my host family, and my last night in Caen, I’m reflecting back on my adventures in Normandie.
I’ve seen everything from large landmarks to big churches to small farms and I’ve tasted the best cuisine that Normandie has to offer. The thing about Normandie is that everything is so rich in history, and it’s all so close. Caen is two hours away from Paris, something that I’ve used to my advantage, and the countryside is beautiful.
In Caen, there are so many wonderful things to do and see. I’ve visited the Caen memorial, which is a WWII memorial that tells a very complete story. But something that you can’t learn back in the states is the closeness of the events. Omaha beach is half an hour away, the city of Caen was occupied by the Germans during the war and the city was bombed by the allies. This history can be seen everywhere. There’s only one of two of the old style timber houses left in Caen, and those are really just the facades. The church Saint Jean doesn’t look the same anymore because the bell tower was destroyed and the facade slants at an odd angle now.
However, some things did survive the war. Like the château of William the conqueror, and the men’s and women’s abbeys. These were all built during the 11th century, and they really put into perspective just how old Caen is.
During my wandering in Caen, I also had the opportunity to meet some incredible people.
Everyone I talked to in shops or on the street was was so welcoming and interesting. Caen is also an incredibly safe city, which is why I never had a problem talking to strangers.
And of course there was my wonderful host family. I cannot say enough about them. They took care of me when I was sick, helped me with homework, encouraged me to speak French as often as possible, and really cared about me. Dinner with my family was one of my favorite parts of the day because I knew I could speak French with people who wouldn’t judge me and who would give me insight on french culture. I wouldn’t give up my time here for anything.
As I sit and watch the sunset from my bedroom, I remember someone once told me that the sky is a different shade of blue in Normandie.
I think they were right. Normandie is so special, and I am already planning my trip back to see all my friends and make new memories.