City Discovery: What do Mussel Shells and Flea Markets Have in Common?

As part of the 2015 City Discovery Series, each week ISA will showcase a different location in which we have study abroad programs by highlighting the five parts of the Discovery Compass: Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.

Discover Lille!

Each year, the European Union designates one city for the year-long honor of being a European Capital of Culture. In 2004, the European Union (EU) named Lille the European Capital of Culture.

The city is home to the largest flea-market in Europe: the Braderie de Lille.  A favorite pastime of this event is that shoppers buy mussels at nearby restaurants and throw the empty shells in piles outside the front door.  There is a competition to see which restaurant ends the event with the largest pile of shells!

Here are some Discovery Compass activities in Lille that you won’t want to miss:

Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Sip a coffee with friends at an outdoor café in the bustling city center.  This is a French tradition and great way to interact with locals and soak in the Lille culture.

Tour the city upon arrival to learn not only how to navigate its distinctly French urban design, but to start gaining an understanding of some of the unique cultural nuances that you’ll encounter.

Lille Grand PlaceHistorical
ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Visit the “In Flanders Fields” museum to learn about the history of the Flanders region during World War I

Take a guided tour of the Citadelle de Lille.  Known as the “Queen of Citadels”, this star-shaped fortification is one of the largest of its kind

Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Stop by the “Boutique de la Presse” to read about news in Lille, France, and beyond, and discuss your findings with your peers and ISA staff

Take an excursion to Brussels, home to the European Union, the UN, the European Parliament and NATO

Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

All courses at the Université Catholique de Lille contain an “Intercultural Communication” component, where students will learn how to decode their experience and learn the importance of living and learning in diverse and challenging environments.  This course component focuses on differences in communication (verbal and nonverbal), interaction and ways of working within other cultures.   The aim is to equip students with valuable tools necessary for interacting effectively in a global work environment.

Lille Museum
Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Spend a leisurely afternoon strolling around the Lille zoo, a free tourist attraction with over 70 different species of animals

Visit the Park Vauban, taking note of Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps’ romantic imitation of nature, or visit the Garden of the Giants, with its remarkable variety of over 45,000 types of plants.

Spend Your Summer in an ISA Study Abroad Program in Lille!

For more information about Study Abroad programs in Lille, contact Matt Gulizia, ISA Site Specialist for Belgium, France, & EuroScholars programs.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.