February 3, 2014, by Guest blog
A two hour lunch seems a little excessive
Although I have faced many challenges whilst being on my year abroad luckily adjusting to the French culture has not been one of the harder ones. However that is not to say that I haven’t found a few things frustrating. Firstly the concept of Sunday closure; In France almost everything closes on a Sunday and sometimes on a Monday too. This makes things difficult when you work Monday to Friday and therefore one of your days off feels wasted every week as there is nothing open to be productive like shop or pay your electricity bill or your rent. For the French Sundays are still a day of rest to be spent with family and friends. Shops are legally not allowed to open so the government are intentionally stopping people worrying about doing day to day jobs – although nice of them it did take a while to get used to and I still find myself planning to do things at the weekend and then realising it must all be done on Saturday.
Secondly, the length of time the French take for their lunch to me seems excessive. They are big into giving themselves enough time to eat which I think is a great idea but 2 hours for lunch to me seems excessive especially when I am waiting around to only teach 1 more lesson. However I am beginning to appreciate the time more and making the most of it like planning lessons so that when I get home I can relax. Unlike in England French have as big a lunch as they do dinner and therefore the multiple courses take them a while, most children and parents go home to eat together which I think is a really nice concept.
One of the biggest differences I have found especially teaching English is the lack of please, sorry’s and thank you’s said in France. Normally when I translate them into French I get a funny look as most of the time they are completely unnecessary. To me at the beginning I felt the French people come across as quite blunt and abrupt but I have now realised that this is simply a cultural difference and some French people I have discussed this with take the mick out of the English for being ‘over-polite.
In general I haven’t found the culture shock between England and France too difficult although as I have mentioned there have been a few things that have taken adjusting to and I’m sure over the next few months I will notice more of them.
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