I completed a 3 month exchange in France from January to March 2018. I remember how excited I was to travel and do this experience on my own. When I first arrived I quickly realised how hard it was going to be. My comprehension and speaking was very poor and could be so frustrating constantly not knowing what people were saying. But my host family were warm and welcoming towards me. They tried to explain things to me as best they could and were very interested in Ireland and my culture. There were three older brothers in the family but they were rarely at home. Any problems I had during my exchange Jane was very helpful and guided me on what to do. We walked to school and then also walked home to have lunch every day. It was about a 10 minute walk but the weather was very cold!! School was quite difficult and found people talked to my exchange student, Amelie about me rather than to me which could be quite isolating and especially when I was put beside her in every class and found not many people tried to talk to me. Personally I would have much preferred to put into a different class to my exchange student. But understanding in school got easier and easier and people were often very nice towards me. The school days were longer and I was really really tired at the start. I would definitely recommend a full night’s sleep!! Mostly teachers were very nice to me. I was particularly lost in French class the teacher gave me a piece to work on that I had to present in front of the class. I actually enjoyed doing this although the students couldn’t really understand my pronunciation of a lot of words especially with my Irish accent.
The food was just delicious, my host mothers cooking never failed. Most days I would help her prepare and cook the food which I didn’t mind doing. We would go for walks or cycles together sometimes. It was a nice difference living in town, I could walk into town, I took the train to basketball and swimming which the family had organised for me to do. Everyone at these were so welcoming and friendly to me. In my last month we had a 2 week holiday and we travelled to visit their friends in Brussels. We went shopping and visited some of the local attractions. On the way up we stopped in Paris where we visited the Louvre and went to see a show. We also stopped at Lille for 2 nights. I really enjoyed that trip. For the second week I took the train to Paris to visit my Cousins. Overall I really enjoyed the immersion into the different culture and language although the first month was definitely the hardest after that everything gets easier and by the end of my 11 weeks I found every aspect of my French had improved hugely but my accent only started to improve at the very end. 3 months was a very long time to be away from my friends and family and be with the same people all of the time but if you want to perfect your French I would definitely recommend going for as long as possible.



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