Written by: Briantara Revidinda Putra (15119008)
Continued from Part 1…
In the first week, we explored the city of Brest and Lorient. In Brest, we visited the Port of Brest, which is a military port, the fish market, and Institut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer (IUEM). At IUEM, we listened to presentations regarding the programs offered by the campus, along with various research and technology produced in IUEM. For instance, there were researches about sea level rise and coastal abrasion. We even had the opportunity to try out a virtual reality-based technology! In Lorient, we visited the Museum of Sailing and Offshore Racing, which contains ships and their supporting equipment. We also visited the Submarine Museum, which contains the history of the French submarines.
In the second week, we visited TechNature Laboratories, Oceanopolis, Ecomuseum of Goemoniers, Village of Meneham, and Mont Saint-Michel. TechNature Laboratories are a place where cosmetics made from seaweed are produced. Oceanopolis is the largest aquarium in France, where we can see various marine animals from around the world. Ecomuseum of Goemoniers is a museum about algae and seaweed, where we had the opportunity to try seaweed-based food products. The Village of Meneham is a settlement of its time, characterised by residential buildings and hill-like rock formations directly in front of a beach. It was beautiful! Lastly, Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most anticipated place for us to visit. With a Hogwarts-like vibe, the monastery stands in the middle of a vast bay, surrounded by Europe’s most extreme tides! The monastery is over 1000 years old, and was once a church and a residence for nuns. I was amazed of how people were able to build it in the first place. Check out my Instagram @briantararevi to watch the video!
A visit to Mont Saint-Michel
In the third week, we visited Bretagne Ocean Power, ENSTA Bretagne University, and Tinduff Hatchery. At Bretagne Ocean Power, we witnessed the production of wind turbines. At ENSTA Bretagne, the same thing was done as the previous campus visit at IUEM. One thing that caught my attention was the Category A Hydrographic Surveyor programme, just like in my campus! Apparently, ENSTA was the place where Bu Gaby carried out her Master’s Degree and Category A certification training. I would love to take that programme as well! The Tinduff Hatchery is a scallop breeding ground. Unfortunately, there were no scallops when we were visiting because they had already been released to the sea.
A visit to ENSTA Bretagne University
For the last week, there was an assignment for us to make a poster related to the visit and what we were interested in. I was grouped with Tarjei from Norway, Mohamed from the United Arab Emirates, and Helene from Estonia. Our topic was “Wind Energy” and there was a poster exhibition on our last day at the French Course.
My team’s poster!
We did a lot of activities during our free time, such as hiking, going to the beach, visiting the Sunday Market on Sundays, and other places to eat (Brest is famous for its crepes) and places of interest around Brest. One day before the farewell event, we made a superlative voting with several criteria, such as the funniest, the friendliest, the best dressed, and so on. I was awarded the friendliest!
Our hiking trip!
The day we hoped would never come had finally arrived: Our last day and farewell event. There were several invited guests, such as Mr. Jean-Francos Dutrey, who was responsible for implementing the programme for Campus France as the Development Manager of Educational and Academic Engineering. We sat together at the courtyard, picnic style, while sharing our impressions and messages during the program with food and drinks. He asked me, “So, after this programme is over, are you interested or have any desire to continue studying in France?” I simply replied, “If there is a scholarship opportunity for me, I would like to.” I gave him batik as a souvenir from Indonesia, as well as key chains and my business card to all my friends.
With Jean and Sandrine, the People in Charge of the programme
For me, F+S programme was the best trip and experience of my life. Meeting new people with diverse backgrounds and becoming family. Yes, wherever we are, we are now connected! I also met an Indonesian student who was carrying out her Master’s research in Brest. Her name is Alexandra, a very humble person and a good cook! She cooked me a spaghetti when I have just arrived, and it was delicious! I also met Bayu, Sirka, and their children. I was warmly welcomed into their home, as warm as the served soto that made me miss Indonesian food so bad. Also Wafika and her French friend, Yoseph, who took me to enjoy the many beaches in Brest. Moreover, I now have a French friend who also lives in Brest. Her name is Agathe. She was our tour guide during our visit. She is a professional dancer who was very friendly, patient, and very welcoming in providing information about the city of Brest. I will miss the crepes and chocolates that she gave us.
The kind people I met in France. From top left: Agathe, Dealopa, Alexandra, Wafika, Yoseph, Bayu, and Sirka.
I learned a lot of new things such as language, culture, the way if socializing, and I would like to model it and replicate in my country. I was amazed by the very orderly way of driving vehicles by prioritizing pedestrians first. I have also visited places that I have only seen from the movies or the internet. I hope one day I can return to France or visit other European countries. Of course, I will miss croissant as my favorite food when I was in France. I went to the boulangerie almost every other day to buy it!
Stacey Ryan, in her song ‘Fall in Love Again’ says “If we never try, how will we know?” So, as long as there is an opportunity, let’s try to take it! We will never know if that opportunity would make our wildest dreams came true.
Thank you France. I am now connected to the world. A bientot !