November 4, 2013, by Guest blog

No need for butterflies in Niort, France

Post written by Rosemary Ash

So here I am, over a month in to my experience as an English Language Teaching Assistant in the town of Niort in France. And I’ve got to say, it’s been great.

After a long ferry crossing and couple of days meander down the French autoroute, the time finally came when I would first set eyes on my new home for the next seven months. And I’m not gonna lie, I was a tad nervous. But the wide open road in arched by big leafy trees was a good first impression, and as soon as I saw it, I was content.

It is a beautiful, green, quaint and historical town, with a very typically ‘French’ look, with multiple churches, a river, castle, and market, amongst other things, to explore!

After getting a hang of the buses and finding each of the schools I had been allocated, the time came to move into my accommodation. I had booked to stay in a residence specifically for young people, and I had been placed in an apartment with two other girls. Not knowing a thing about them, I was nervously anticipating the moment we would all meet. No need for butterflies however as both turned out to be lovely.

My flatmate Anna made me feel right at home, inviting me on my first night there to attend a little social meal organised by my accommodation, for anyone that wants to sign up. I paid 2 euros 50 for an extremely tasty 3 course meal cooked by a true Frenchman! It was here that I got the chance to meet other people staying at this accommodation and start making some friends.

It was over these few days that I met the other teaching assistants here in Niort. And already I began to find I loved the fact that although a good sized and fairly busy town, it is still small enough to regularly bump into people you know.

I’ve also been lucky to find everyone so friendly, the locals are welcoming and kind and most importantly, don’t speak English to you when you don’t understand!! As are my teachers, which has been helpful as I first became acquainted with their classes and school life.

I’m also enjoying the whole international side of this experience; the meeting of and making friends with people of all different nationalities, (the conversations are always so interesting!) and in particular at times the new necessity of having to communicate in a mutually foreign language.

I’ve absolutely loved my first experiences in and around my new home in France, and in particular the chance to regularly speak French!! And I am excited to see what new things I’ll see, learn and do in my time living abroad.

Posted in First impressions