‘¿Oye tío, por qué hay tanto guiri aquí?’ was a phrase I heard that stuck with me for days after. I was in a bar in the centre of Seville with a group of other friends from the UK, when some locals began laughing and chatting about us in Spanish, unaware that we could understand them.
By Sarah Cross, Sciences Po Toulouse, Toulouse, France.
After almost ten months living in Toulouse, it was finally time to depart for my journey home! I was lucky enough to be able to do this journey by car, despite flying on the way there. Whilst it was a long 3 day trip, I got the opportunity to visit even more little towns in France, and see the beautiful countryside on the way!
Despite the impact of the strikes (see my previous post!), the trains both within and beyond the Occitane region of France have allowed me and my friends to visit lots of other towns and cities nearby. To make it even better, at the start of each months, some of these regional trains cost only 1 euro!!! We recently made the most of this with a trip to Avignon, Nîmes and Montpellier.
Macron’s controversial decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 certainly has not gone down too well with French workers, with strikes and protests occurring all over the city, and country, since January. An estimated 50,000-100,000 people have taken part in each of the marches in Toulouse alone, with an estimate of over 3 million across France. Whilst precise numbers are heavily debated between the police and the CGT (the main left wing trade union group), it has been impossible to ignore the impact this reform proposal has had on French society.
One of the best things available to us since being in Toulouse, is the €2 train tickets on many weekends. This means that, for such a small price, we are able to take the train around the Occitanie region (of which Toulouse is the capital). It is an initiative to encourage both public transport use, and tourism to the smaller parts of the region. I recently used this for a day out in the town of Montauban, about 40 minutes from Toulouse.
Despite having more classes and a fuller timetable than I’m used to in Manchester (those 8:30am lectures will stop me from ever complaining about a 9am again!), there remains plenty of time to explore the beautiful city and surrounding areas. I’m lucky enough to also have Fridays off this Semester, giving me even more time to explore. I thought I’d tell you about some of my favourite things I’ve done outside of classes and the library in my first two months.
I’m Sarah and I’m a PPE student studying for a year at Sciences Po in Toulouse. After what feels like countless months of admin, forms and eventually obtaining a Visa, I finally arrived here to begin my placement. The French bureaucracy has meant nothing is straightforward (partially thanks to Brexit!), so it feels great to have now spent three weeks in the ‘Pink City’.