My name is Ella and I spent 5 weeks in France from the 13th January to 17th of February. My experience in France is one I will never forget. As everyone told me the first week was going to be the hardest, but I didn’t really believe it until I was there. The new surroundings and lack of confidence in my French made things extremely difficult, however Jane was a constant source of encouragement and she rang me as often as I needed. I myself had never been away from home for longer than 3 days so going on an exchange was a big learning experience for me. The first day of school was the really hard, joining a different class with a new schedule and new people is of course going to be difficult but after a few days things start to become more normal and you settle in. It gets easier, slowly but surely. Getting a lot of sleep helps. During my first week I was going to bed at 8.30/9pm!. The second week was a lot better. I started to bond more with my friends and my host family. School was beginning to get easier and my constant want to go home was starting to lift. I started to set myself little goals to work towards like having a full conversation with my friends or asking a teacher a question. It was the little accomplishments that gave me confidence and pushed me to speak more French even though I was quite shy about it. Definitely by the 3rd week things were a lot better. I found I wasn't as tired and I could understand people’s conversations more easily. In my family there were two boys and two girls. I played with the younger boys as much as I could because I wasn't as afraid to try my French with them. I found this helped very much. My last two weeks were fantastic, I had made amazing friends and we were constantly laughing, singing and joking with each other. They made sure I always understood what was happening in the class or what they were talking about. Making these friends made my whole exchange worthwhile and was probably one of the best things I got from the whole experience .I was sad to leave and wish I had longer with them. I had completely forgotten about any worries I had in the first two weeks and just enjoyed myself. I went to some amazing places with my family. We visited Mont St Michael and the Louvre in Paris. I got to try different foods and experience all different cultures which I never would have got to experience at home. I feel my French improved greatly and by the time I was leaving I was able to have and understand conversations quite well. My only regret was not staying longer. I would highly recommend not booking your flight home until you're there! My exchange was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I met some amazing people, learned so many new things and I would go again in a heartbeat.



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