October 20, 2013, by Guest blog

Welcomed by glorious French sunshine

Upon my arrival in France on the 21st of September 2013, I was wearing a woolly jumper as I was dressed suitably for the English weather, not ready for the glorious French sunshine.

A 3 course meal spaced out over several hours was great when I first arrive but  hours of conversation in a language I hadn’t spoken for several months along with several glasses of wine was quite difficult!

I had my first taste of local cuisine by eating smoked duck breast which was very nice indeed! It was nice to have dinner with the English teachers who helped me with any words I didn’t know so I didn’t feel completely swamped – I was eased slowly into it!

My first impression of the town of Marmande (bearing in mind I arrived on a Saturday night and ventured out on the Sunday morning) was how quiet and quaint everything was. I was shocked at the fact that every shop was closed and that there was hardly anyone around. This was my first understanding of how the French really make the most of their weekends to spend time at home and with their families.

My first impression of the school was shock at how basic the resources were. The school had long corridors of classrooms with plastic chairs and chalk boards. I was surprised at how welcoming the teachers were, with two of them even inviting me round for dinner at their houses! They all made sure that I was ok and that I had everything that I needed!

With regards to the students, I was shocked at their varying levels of English. As English is compulsory in France it is clear to see those who really enjoy it and want to learn compared to those who have no interest in it whatsoever. It’s also very difficult to teach a class with such different levels of English and certainly a challenge!

Overall, first impressions are that I am certainly enjoying the French way of life and trying to get stuck in as much as I can. I’m trying to grab any opportunity that I can to speak French with anyone who wants to talk to me and I’ve joined salsa classes and the local swimming pool. I was surprised at how hygienic the swimming pool is – they must think the English pools are disgusting in comparison! Looking forward to writing my next blog and hoping that my level of French will have improved significantly by then!

Posted in First impressions