December 30, 2013, by Guest blog

What a difference a term makes

Having now spent three months in France I feel a great sense of pride at how my language skills have developed. This has been helped by the amount of traveling I have done around the country. A personal highlight has to be spending a weekend in Bordeaux. I celebrated a friend’s twenty-third birthday in the beautiful city. Alongside exploring, we decided to buy tickets for a wine tasting trip. The experience was exceptional.  We spent the day learning about the cultural heritage of several vineyards and how the area thrives on the wine industry. I was pleased to acknowledge myself as a French speaker when the guide divided us into groups of ‘English’ and ‘French.’ I even understood all that was said to me: spurring me to quiz the guide about the history of the chateau.

Another weekend I spent touring Paris. I decided to venture to the capital with another friend and we both attempted the famous tourist attractions. We managed to visit La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre as the sun set over the city: to say it was picturesque would be an understatement. I was placed in several challenging situations during my stay, such as having to orienteer around various public transport systems and ask numerous people for instructions. It was liberating to be surrounded by people from the North, as they seemed to have different gestures in comparison with the South of France. For instance, they had different table manners and they were more rushed in the way they conducted their daily lives.

In general, living in Montauban has exposed me to some interesting situations. I have dedicated myself to a weekly dance class, which has brought me into contact with people of all ages. This has encouraged me to vary my conversational French to meet the demands of each age group. Having dance routines given to me in French was challenging initially but soon enough I was mastering salsa twists and turns with people of up to eighty years old!

I have also found the more time I have been working at my school the more I have integrated myself into the community. I have set up individual classes to help students in need of extra assistance. This has led to private tutoring sessions, which I have found encouraging as a means of developing my confidence skills. All in all I continue to be amazed by the opportunities that are thrown my way. I will continue to grasp them with both hands to make the most of my time in the South of France.

Posted in Language acquisition