April 8, 2015, by Words on Words
‘Say Yes to Everything’
This blog post was written by third year English and French student, Amelia Smith from the School of English.
Before my year abroad, I was advised to say yes to everything, and this was the best advice I could have been given.
Agreeing to tutor two children in English, led to their teacher inviting me to give full English lessons in their primary school. After a few fun games of ‘guess the animal’ the teachers casually asked if I’d like to join the class for their skiing holiday! Completely flabbergasted I assured them that I’d love to, but thought, ‘no way, that won’t happen it’d be amazing but come on, that’s just too good to be true!’
But reader, I went skiing!
Fifty-two sweet little French children and I hit the Alps for nine days. I’d never skied before, or even seen such pretty snowy mountains, so it’s safe to say I was even more excited than the children. I found myself in this completely alien environment: mountains, an abundance of nine year olds and only French speakers, my role was somewhere in between teacher and child – that was both a dream and a nightmare. For the first time I was constantly surrounded by the French language, I can’t lie, it was such a headache, but I learnt more in those nine days than in all the rest of my year abroad.
Being the ‘adulte’ in a beginners ski class for children is not easy. I was simultaneously trying to understand the French instructions, putting on one child’s glasses back on, telling another one to stop throwing snowballs and trying desperately not to slide down the mountain. Then suddenly the kids are lining up to do something and I’m wondering what we’re doing. Of course the beautiful ski instructors did help, even if they all referred to me as Kate (my name is Amelia), being English, they immediately linked me to Kate Middleton. But to be honest, I can think of worse people to be named after.
My favourite thing was chiens de traineaux. When we were little, my brothers and I loved the film Snow Dogs and I found myself in the film, but even better because it was all in French! It was a surreal moment that I’ll never forget, stroking these mystical animals with the most adorable children in the most picturesque of settings. And then I was asked if I wanted to ride with them. OUI. The huskies pulled us through winding mountains and over bridges, better than any roller coaster. All while the owner of the dogs chatted to me about living in constant snow with twenty-nine huskies. What an amazing world.
By the last day, I’d never felt exhaustion like it. On a coach for twelve hours throughout the night, winding along mountain roads after we’d all eaten a huge dinner and a massive cheese platter was not fun or pleasant smelling. I was glad to be home. But boy I am glad that it happened.