Saturday, 27 October 2012

Episode 1: La bienvenue obligatoire à ce nouveau blog... (The obligatory welcome post)

So I finally decided to get on board the Erasmus blogwagon, having intended to do so for a while (six weeks?) now, and here I am!

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Gah-Kai, your average 20-year-old British born Chinese guy. I've arrived in this quaint old town of Grenoble by way of Warwick University, where I spent the last two years of my life pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, so this is a somewhat minor interruption in my studies before I return to get that BA. I've always had a passion for la vie francaise: I studied a module in comparative English and French literature in my first year of uni, am pretty crazy about French film and enjoy eating pains au chocolat when I can!  So when I heard about the Erasmus exchange programme, I jumped at the chance to get to spend a year in my favourite country other than Britain or the States. I listed Paris, Bordeaux and Aix-en-Provence as my top three destinations, got none of those and was handed Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Grenoble instead. But I really love it here and an overseas year is better than no overseas year, so I feel pretty lucky. :)

Aside from all things French, my other interests run the gamut from Shakespeare to seismology to swimming. I plan to take an MA in World History when I'm done with my undergrad (with a tentative thesis on representations of the Chinese diaspora in literature and the way we read novels as historiography), but we'll see when we get there. But mainly this blog will be dealing with stuff that arises out of my short (!) sojourn here in the southeast of France. Some of the things you can expect to read about in future episodes of this blog include:
- University life in France
- What to see and do in Grenoble, including regular restaurant reviews!
- Stage business: my theatre club and other society shenanigans
- Being queer in Grenoble
- What I'm reading
- Some of the work I've been doing: exposés, projects...
- Current affairs from a distinctly French perspective
- Quotations from awesome French people!

I have a number of intrepid compatriots who are doing intercultural stuff too around France and other places, so I only thought it fair to give them a shout-out. The author of this blog ( is a very charming Irish guy I met here at IEP Grenoble called Dom Berkeley: his style is much more streetwise than mine could ever hope to be. Edward Mills has a hilariously idiosyncratic take on life as a teaching assistant in France. In the inimitable Mills way, which often relies on awful puns as a feeble attempt at humour, the blog is titled "Reims and Repeat" (

Finally, it is my sincere hope that the title of this blog (Brownie points if you can correctly guess its source) will become a self-fulfilling prophecy... that as I start my Erasmus journey it will become "a very good year." And if you ever want advice making your own trip abroad "a very good year," don't hesitate to ask!


GK x

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." - André Gide

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