Evan Sox, senior at the University of South Alabama majoring in Spanish and French, recently traveled to Dijon, France to study abroad. For six weeks he was able to experience a new lifestyle, try amazing food, see the beautiful architecture, and make lifelong friends. As this week’s USA Study Abroad featured blogger, Evan writes about one of his favorite memories and experiences from this past summer:
One of my favorite parts about studying abroad in Dijon, France for six weeks was going out with my friends. There were lots of great restaurants and bars where we met local French people. They would always ask us why we chose to come to Dijon and why we weren’t in Paris or Lyon. They must have somehow gotten used to all of the beautiful architecture and amazing food of Dijon.
One Saturday night, when my American friends had taken a trip down to Provence in the south of France, my Swiss friend Brigitte, my two Korean friends, Yena and Ashley, and I, decided to go to an outdoor concert that was held every year at Dijon’s local fire station. When we got there, thanks to Ashley’s pleads, we got free beers from one of the firefighters who told her “Premiere fois, derniere fois,” or “First time, last time.” So, we were very thankful nevertheless.
I loved the concert! The DJ played everything from classic rock to pulsing house music. It was fun to hear how they said phrases like “make some noise” in French. Even though it was raining for a good while at one point, nobody cared and we just kept dancing. It was so much fun being up at the front of the crowd where all of the lights were the brightest. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we eventually lost track of time and ended up leaving at 4 a.m! Since Dijon is very safe and everything is within walking distance, we always walked back to our dorm. This time was exceptional because we got to see the sun rise and begin to color all of Dijon’s breathtaking buildings.
By the time we got near the residence, we were all very hungry. It didn’t help that we had to pass right by a bakery that opened every morning at 5 a.m. We could smell the dough rising – what would eventually turn into the baguettes and croissants that I had come to love. Apparently, Yena was so hungry that she went around back to see if anyone could sell us some food. We thought she was crazy! The place hadn’t opened yet for the day, and I had no idea how the employees would react. But since we were so hungry, we couldn’t help but follow after Yena. As we approached the back of the building we noticed that the back door was, in fact, open! The smells were especially strong and irresistible now. Then, with her seemingly unending courage, Yena peeked her head in and called to see if anyone was there. “Il y a quelqu’un!?” Soon, one of the bakers walked by and noticed us. We told him we would like to buy some fresh goods if possible and he asked us to wait a second. He walked away, and we weren’t sure what would happen. Finally, an older man, who seemed to be the manager came around the corner toward us. To our delight, he asked us what we would like! All for of us got baguettes, croissants, and I got my favorite pastry there, the “escargot chocolat.” It’s basically a cinnamon roll with chocolate instead of cinnamon. On top of that, he only asked for four euros for all of that food! We couldn’t believe his generosity–especially since it was 5 a.m.
Thanks to them, we finished our walk back to the dorm with warm bread and pastries in hand and a great story to tell.
As you could imagine, that wasn’t the last time we visited the Gust a Veur Boulangerie at sunrise. Because of how nice they were, I made sure that was were I got my “Grand Cafe Creme” and “Escargo Chocolat” every morning before class.