My 5 week exchange in France was undeniably one of the best experiences of my life. Full of Memories and times that I will cherish forever. My exchange begun with a French girl (Thérèse) coming to stay with our family in Ireland where we attended school together and she had the opportunity to be immersed in Irish life with my friend’s family and the community. Thérèse and I automatically clicked, being two teenage girls we had numerous similarities and interests however our personalities matched perfectly and I could not have asked for any better.

I found going to France for the second part of the exchange to be an excellent idea as I was glad that I already had Thérése not only as a guide but as a friend. I was welcomed by Therese and her family warmly and quickly fit in to the daily running and life with the family. I also spent lots of time with the siblings in the family who I bonded with over games sports and simple talking which also helped to improve my French.

The language at the beginning I found was the most difficult part of the exchange, after having only studied French for 3 years previously my fluidity was not expected to be in any way perfect by anyone however it was sometimes hard to fit into certain places like school or family events when I could understand so little. However this vastly improved within very little time. By the first week I had picked up many small but helpful phrases used in every day France by the second managing to hear more of the words being pronounced, and by the third being able to have conversations with family and friends. Although not a fluent French speaker, by the end of my 5 week stay in France I can certainly say my French has improved greatly. Being able to have almost fluent conversations about things other than basic questions with others I found had to be the most astonishing to me.

During my travels home I met a lady on the plane who only spoke French which whom I talked in French the whole way home, this i found really marked the end of my exchange for me and how much it had benefited me in my language studies. Nevertheless my French improvement most definitely wasn't the only part of the exchange I enjoyed but also the experience of French life. Before arriving to France I had no idea of what the people, country, school or home life would be like and after my exchange I could not have imagined I had never done it. Everyone I met made a conscious effort to speak to me slowly and we're genuinely interested in what I was saying or trying to. I made many new friends in school and outside who I still keep in contact with back home and will hopefully see again as myself and Therese have agreed to continue our exchange.

I also got the opportunity to visit numerous different places in France such as a weekend in Paris and Brittanie. My French exchange truly was one of the best experiences of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Thank you TY Europe for the incredible memories!!

Lorraine France 2023

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