That title caught your eye didn’t it?! All will be revealed within this blog, so keep reading for an explanation!
Welcome to my first blog from France. I have now been at Les Cѐdres language school for three weeks but it feels much longer to be honest. I guess that’s because a) everyone is so welcoming and friendly that I feel very much part of the school already and b) we’ve covered A LOT in class during these last three weeks.
As most of you will be aware, I am here until December for French language study before I head off to Chad. I am really enjoying having the time set aside to put to learning and improving my spoken and written French, as well as practising reading the language and hearing it spoken. We have classes from 8.35am – 3.45pm every weekday apart from Wednesday. However given that I am living in France and the language we communicate in around the school is French, every day is a learning day, even if it’s not formal learning in the classroom. This has meant that I’ve felt really tired for most of the last three weeks! The combination of moving to a new area, meeting new (but fabulous) people and also conversing 80% of the time in French takes a lot of energy. However it will be worth it as I already feel more confident in speaking French and am learning lots of technical stuff in class. The main thing that spurs me on is the memory of when I was last in Chad and the frustration I often felt at not being able to express myself well (if at all, sometimes). Hopefully that will happen less the next time around.
|We get a fair bit of homework too!|
|There are a lot of these signs around.....|
we do stick to it (most of the time!)
I am in a class with 15 other students from around the world – the UK, USA, Australia, South Africa and Romania are all represented in the class. All of my class are learning French in order to do similar work as me in various French-speaking countries around the world. So we’re all here for similar reasons and can therefore support each other during our time here.
The language school is in Massy, a suburb of Paris to the South of the centre. The town is on the main train line into Paris and it takes a total of around 45 minutes to travel into the centre of Paris from Les Cѐdres. I’ve been in a few times and done some of the touristy things which has been fun. Visiting patisseries and the tourist sights gives good opportunity for language practise – I have to make the most of every opportunity to practise!!
Speaking of practising my spoken French, that’s where the ‘speed dating style’ comes in. Someone I’ve met here at the language school has introduced a couple of us to ‘Language Exchange’. The objective of these events is for (in our case) native English and French speakers to chat with each other in an informal environment. You’re paired up with a person who speaks the other language and then you speak for 7 minutes in one language and then swap languages and speak for 7 minutes in that one. Then you move tables and meet someone new to chat to for the next quarter of an hour! It’s a really effective way of practising your spoken French with nationals who speak at normal speed and with their normal accents. We went to our first event last Monday and had a great time chatting to people for two hours. I didn’t have much voice left afterwards though, as it was a small room and with 30 or so people chatting away, it was quite noisy and you had to shout! So there we go, a novel way of practising my French!
Hopefully this has given you a bit of an insight into my new life here in Massy, France!
Until next time