Wow, I cannot believe my time in Bordeaux is coming to an end in just a few days.  I have just completed my final oral exam for my medieval art history course, and I have to say that it was my hardest final.  The professor gave each California student in the course an image of an edifice studied in class, and we had to analyze it individually before him.  As I mentioned, it is just important to keep your cool in this type of exam, as it makes it much easier to find your words in French!  Since this was an art history course, we were given about 300 edifices throughout the semester to study, and the professor expected us to know the name and location of all of these pieces for the final exam, as all of our pieces we had to analyze for the final were from this bank.  So, just know this for future reference if you decide to take an art history course at Bordeaux Montaigne!  

Yesterday was not only the last day of my finals, but also my last day with all of the UCEAP students in the program.  We had a small cocktail evening at the university, with all of those involved in our program, even the host families.  Wsadly said our goodbyes to each other and also to Joelle and Anaïs.  Our lovely methodology professor, Melanie, was also there, so it was really nice to speak with everyone who made our program special for the last time.   

I am leaving France on Christmas eve (warning: don’t be like me and purchase your return flight to California in October because it will be even more expensive than it already is!).  Now, as I wait out my final four days in Bordeaux, I will have some time to reflect on my time here.  I started that today, with my good friend Adam, from UC Riverside.  Every week we took one afternoon to go try a new patisserie in the city, and we had our final outing today.  We actually went to what was ranked in 2017 as the greatest boulangerie in France, Maison Lamour (157 Rue Judaïque, 33000 Bordeaux).  They are very well known in Bordeaux for their chocolatines, so you must try one.  I also had a royale, which is like a chocolate cream cake.   

Later in the afternoon, Adam and I joined our friends Amy and Tracie for a final coffee date all together.  This was another almost daily tradition for the four of us, and we all were definitely sad that we had to have our last one.  Everything now feels so bittersweet, but I suppose with all of the difficult goodbyes I am having to make I am realizing how many truly incredible friendships I made thanks to this program.   

Beyond friends, I feel like I have my own little family in Bordeaux.  I have absolutely loved my time with my host family, and I cannot recommend the experience enough.  The other evening, we enjoyed raclette, a popular dish in the wintertime here, composed of melted Swiss raclette cheese served with potatoes and cured meats.  My host parents invited my good friend from California, Tracie, and my host brother also invited his best friend.  It was such a wonderful time.  My goodness, how I will miss them and my little community I’ve gained here in Bordeaux.   

Natasha Szombathy studied abroad in Bordeaux, France in 2017: