My name is Ciara and I’ve recently came home from a French exchange of 4 weeks (February 11th till March 10th). Before I left I was quite nervous however 3 other girls in my school had already gone over to France for their exchange so this made me far more at ease because I’d gotten lots of tips from them. My experience was quite different to everyone else’s however because I wasn’t actually going to France, but instead Brussels. My student, Elisabeth had just moved there in January and so she as well as me was relatively new to her school. I was very lucky because I had 2 weeks of holidays for midterm and 2 weeks of school during my stay. I really enjoyed the first two weeks and felt as if I were on holidays rather than on an exchange. I wasn’t homesick at all. We went to all the famous tourist attractions in Brussels as well as visiting Paris, Versailles and Anvers. Despite all this I did find it very overwhelming when I met my family at the airport and was completely thrown into the world of French however they were very patient, kind and thoughtful and soon I got used to it all and started to improve and understand. My last two weeks were definitely not as exciting as my first two but I had expected this. Elisabeth’s school had 3000 people in the Lycée part alone, ranged from ages 4-18 and was so big had army men patrolling it every morning and evening. School was boring and nobody talked to me so I felt quite alone. Instead of asking questions about myself to me they’d ask them to Elisabeth but I soon realized that was just the way French people were and that maybe her friends were shy. School did however help my understanding of the language hugely and I can safely say that by my last day I could understand so much more and talk away to the family. I honestly would’ve stayed in Brussels for another 2 weeks if I could have. My exchange as made me open to new things and a lot more independent.  It is an experience I will never forget!


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