October 18, 2013, by Guest blog

Settling in France after a four hour trip to Ikea

After finding out I got allocated somewhere I had never heard of, with only one club with a wooden interior and where the university had closed down shortly after the French revolution, I didn’t have high hopes for the French part of my year abroad. I was allocated my third choice – Orleans-Tours and I would be based near the city of Bourges (2 hours south of Paris).

I arrived earlier than expected on Tuesday the 24th of September to a surprisingly sunny Bourges. I planned to start the accommodation hunt the next day which turned out to be trickier than anticipated. Needless to say I am now writing this in what was an unfurnished flat in Bourges while waiting for two other language assistants to join me who I met within the first few days here.

The past few days have included a four hour round trip to Ikea in a hired van, a small fortune being spent and a lot of paperwork! Things are looking up though, two out of the three bedrooms have beds that can be slept on and my bed just needs slats – which will hopefully be here in the next week.  I have sorted out the electricity to be switched on, have set up a bank account and now I’m waiting for the internet connection to be installed on Friday. Luckily the people of Bourges are super helpful.

As the days go by I am also meeting more language assistants from various parts of the world including America, England, Germany and Spain which is good and everyone seems to be up for making the most of things and taking up the offer of doing anything social that Bourges has to offer. At the weekend we went to the International Ecological Film Festival and watched ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ in French which was really good especially considering I didn’t understand all of it.

Work is going well despite the lack of organisation with classes being randomly cancelled. It’s interesting observing the differences in culture between French and English schools and pleasantly surprising how well behaved and polite the children are. In general, as I have got to know Bourges better, it has grown on me. I’ve been discovering new parts to the typically French city and I’ve learnt that there are actually quite a few things to do.

So far the stressful situation has been made much better by the people I have met and I am excited about being here for the next seven months to see what else is to come.

Posted in First impressions