My two months stay in France: I decided during my TY year I would go to France to help my French for the leaving cert. I have only been away from home for 2 weeks on my own, so it was a big jump. On 5th March, I left Dublin airport to start my two-month exchange. I was very nervous going over when I didn’t really know the family, but I soon realised there was nothing to worry about. The family were very friendly and welcoming into their culture and lives. I arrived on the Friday and started school on the Monday, so I had a few days to adapt to the house and family before which was easier. I was a bit nervous at first as I haven’t done French properly since in the Junior Cert, but I felt I remembered more than I thought. The first few days of school was very hard, and I didn’t like it much. I felt a bit alone and left out as my exchange student didn’t try to include me very much. The days were very long starting at 8 a.m until 6 p.m some days although we had a lot of breaks in-between. The classes were very frustrating for me as I couldn’t understand much at the beginning but over the few weeks I began to understand some subjects a lot better. I was so tired the first two weeks because speaking French, adapting to the lifestyle and doing extra activities after school were draining. I didn’t take part in some classes like French as it was too advanced for me so during that class I would work on my French. During the two months I wrote down all the words I didn’t know and translated them. During the second week I could really start noticing the difference in my understanding and my tenses were getting better. The girls in school were friendlier to me also as I could keep a conversation up. I was so determined to become more involved with the people in my class. My exchange student and I, went to self-defence training and Zumba after school and I also went to swimming lessons on my own. The family did loads of activities with me including canoeing, walks and ice skating and we visited my cities including Toulouse and Biarritz. We had two weeks of school holidays during my stay, the first week Camille and I went to stay with her granny for the week in Toulouse and for the second week the family and I went to Spain for a skiing trip for a week. I have never been, so I did lessons and then met up with the family later. This was the highlight of my exchange. I got to try out a new sport and experience different foods. I loved trying new food in France as they did eat very different things to what I would eat at home. We’d eat lunch at 12 o’clock and then have dinner at 8 o’clock which is normal for them. I ate things that I normally wouldn’t like to eat at home and realised that I enjoyed it more. I was lucky that I didn’t get too homesick while I was away. I am very happy that I decided to do two months instead of one month as I feel like I learned so much more the second month. It was an amazing experience and as well as being more fluent In French, I feel more independent and mature. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! I feel like I could’ve went for another month but I was happy to come home and see all my friends and family.



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