In January 2023 I went to France for 4 weeks with TY Europe. It was an incredible and unforgettable experience. In the beginning it was very nerve-wracking as I was quite worried about a number of things and almost started to doubt my decision. It would be my first time travelling on my own, I’d be living with people whom I’d never net before and be in a foreign country for the first time. However all these worries were immediately put to rest once I arrived in Paris. I knew I would have a wonderful time with this wonderful family.

TY Europe did a great job of pairing me with a family, based off of my family and my interests and circumstances. We organized a call beforehand to talk about the exchange and our plans and this really helped to ease my nerves and get me more comfortable with the family. Everyone was welcoming and friendly and they made sure I felt comfortable and had a good time. I found just listening to them talking about simple things such as their day really helped me to improve my French. The parents both spoke very good English and tried to make sure I understood what was being said, everyone was very helpful in teaching me lots of new vocabulary!

I found school very different in France and it was interesting to compare it to Ireland. From the classes to the timetables everything seemed new. The students and teachers were all very eager to learn about Irish life and school, this proved to be a great opportunity for me to practice my French!

I quickly made friends at school which was a huge confidence booster as this was something I had been nervous about. Over the four weeks of my exchange I had the opportunity to explore Paris. We toured museums and exhibitions, visited cafes and monuments. I discovered and tried many things for the very first time on this trip.

I found it very comforting that both Jane and Margit from TY Europe kept in contact with me throughout the exchange, always reminding me that they were there if I needed anything and constantly encouraging me! The four weeks flew by and at the end I was wishing I could stay longer, I had met so many new people and made friendships I knew would be for life.

Overall I had the most wonderful time in France thanks to TY Europe! I was very proud of myself at the end of the exchange and felt truly independent. My understanding and love for French has only grown and I hope to keep up all that I’ve learnt!

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