SLS Student Blog: Metz, France

 Blog Post 1 – Introduction


Hi! My name is Savannah Simpson, but most of my friends like to call me Sav for short. I am studying Literature, Media, and Communication with threads in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Culture and Communications at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. A mouth full, right! Now, I know how shocking it may seem to have a typical liberal arts degree at a prestigious STEM university like Georgia Tech. Trust me, this is everyone’s first reaction – myself included, when I found out about the degree! I love science, innovation, and being surrounded by an environment that believes in the intersection of creativity and facts. This degree program provides a unique opportunity to approach the art of communication from a new and exciting direction. It challenges me to question the way communication can be reinvented to make an impact. I am also pursuing a minor in International Business, Language, and Culture in my time here at Georgia Tech with hopes to be accepted into the Global Media Graduate degree program. I have always had a love for travel and an infatuation with the workings of other cultures from a very young age. I also enjoy photography, being active in any way possible, reading, art, and attending church in my free time!

My typical hobbies and routines have looked quite different during my first week here in Metz. Experiencing Metz’s rich and exciting new culture and learning the French way of life has taken up most of my time upon arrival. After navigating Covid travels and settling into our dorms, my fellow students and I were excited to explore downtown. We were pleasantly surprised by the mid-70s temperature and the lack of humidity compared to the sweltering heat back home in Georgia, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and walk downtown. We were quickly in awe of the unique architecture of the homes leading into the city. One of our immediate favorite qualities of the city was the diverse and abundant assortment of flowers and plants. Whether they were hanging from window seals, growing over the sides of bridges, or planted in beautiful gardens, we were constantly finding ourselves stopping to admire and wonder about the many unique plants we passed! As we were strolling along the Moselle River, I made the connection between Atlanta being called “the city in the trees” and Metz as being known as a “green city” and wondered if Georgia Tech had strategically placed us here for this reason.


Since we are abroad during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we must comply with the safety protocols of France. The biggest hindrance being the French proof of vaccination health pass, known here as the Passé Sanitaire. Obtaining one of these QR codes that act as our ticket into all grocery stores, cafes, museums, and transportation was no small feat. Many students, myself included, sent in applications via email weeks before arrival and were yet to receive a response. After struggling to explain to local businesses that we only had our CDC vaccination cards for five days, we were beginning to get restless. Some students attempted to visit vaccination clinics to no avail, and others began to spam the email we had been given. Finally, most of us began to have some luck by adding urgent subject lines such as “déjà en France” (already in France) and “long term student.” There is still a buzzing debate about what tactic cracked the code to receive the invaluable health pass, but either way, we were all elated to finally have that stress relieved!

Once our classes began, we finally got to go on our first SLS outings as a class! We got to attend the premiere of a documentary on climate crisis called “Une Fois Que Tu Sais” (Once You Know), and afterward, we sat in on a Q&A with the director. I really enjoyed the artistry and emotion that the film brought out, and it was super interesting to hear the ideas of locals and directors. On Thursday, the class attended a walking tour of Metz, during which our tour guide told us all about the history and architecture of the famous Saint-Étienne Cathedral. Along the way, we walked across several of Metz’s beautiful bridges, saw a garden, and made our way up to the where the Fêtes de la Mirabelle (a celebration of the Mirabelle plum that is a specialty of the city) will be held this weekend. The tour guide also told us about an upcoming hot air balloon festival which excited me for the weeks to come. My fellow students and I are over the moon to be spending this semester immersing ourselves in the culture of France, and I am so thrilled to keep you all updated on our adventures as your Serve Learn Sustain blogger. Au Revoir!

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