Reflections on Rennes

After several days in Rennes, the students have started to note some similarities and differences between life here and life back at MPS.

Tania: Shopping in Rennes is very different from the United States. One of the main differences is tax free. Foreigners are not required to pay taxes on merchandise in the European Union, which means that if you shop for more than €175.00, you can get about 8% of your money back. We have also noticed that there are more local small shops than big chains. The clothes/jewelry etc in these types of stores are local or handmade, and not imported like in many stores in the U.S. There are not a lot of shopping malls in Rennes, and the ones that exist are very small. By talking to many French students, we realized that shopping is a regular activity. Many students go shopping after school with friends.

Laura-Joëlle & Tanya: Compare/Contrast French and American High School

Throughout our time in Rennes, we noticed some differences between Lycée Saint Martin, the high school of our host students, and Porter’s. Here in the table, we highlighted some key distinctions:

Porter’s Lycée Saint Martin
Secular Catholic influence
Students smoke
45-50 minute lunch blocks 2 hour lunch blocks
School ends at 3:20 PM School ends at 6:00 PM
Decorations (posters, etc.) in the classrooms No classroom decorations
Snacking during class is tolerated No eating or drinking during class
Teachers have their own classrooms Teachers don’t have their own classrooms but instead move to different rooms each period
Classes are project- and discussion-based (led by students) Classes are lecture-based (teacher explains concept at board, and students take notes)
Students wear comfortable clothes for school Students dress up for school
Girls carry mainly backpacks for class Most girls use a purse or handbag for their books

Zoe: Besides the fact that French food in general is delicious, it is interesting to experience the different nutrition that the french eat every day. During the meals we have had here at the Lycée and during our homestays, we have seen how French meals are much more balanced than those in America, with lots of vegetables and a healthy source of protein (and of course some bread and cheese). In America, we have much fattier foods sometimes with no vegetables or good source of vitamins and normally way too much protein. French food is much more plentiful in so many ways. For example, one night I had a green salad to start with some olive oil and then beefsteak tomatoes stuffed with turkey sausage and roasted with some parmesan on top. I have loved eating the food here because even in the dining hall we eat very healthy and very delicious food. I can’t wait to try more!


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