I am so glad that I did a French exchange after the month I just had.

After filling out the paperwork for the exchange, I got an email with 4 different profiles for 4 different possible exchange partners. After considering things like: location, hobbies and personality, I settled on the best one for me.

While my exchange partner (Josse) was living with me in Ireland, we quickly became friends. We did things like going to the cinema, playing different sports, ice skating and we visited the zoo. He was shocked at how little work we do in TY. When we were saying goodbye at the airport on the last day, it was hard to believe that we only met 1 month ago. It was like we had been friends since we were small.

Eventually the day came that I was packing my suitcase and preparing to leave for France. I wasn't nervous for all the days leading up to departure but as I sat in my kitchen staring at my suitcase packed with everything I needed for a month the nerves definitely kicked in. My main worry was the food since I'm a bit of a picky eater and don't eat much foreign cuisine.

After I landed in the airport and met Josse and his dad, he gave me a nice ham sambo and some chocolate. I knew the food would be fine then.
The first day was just settling in, meeting the family and unpacking my suitcase. I had my own room since it was one of the things I looked for when choosing a correspondent.

I went into school the next day and met my new class. Everyone was very welcoming and I became friends with most of the class. One thing about school in France is that it's very long. Some days were 10 hours long with only a 1 hour break. Most of the time I was hungry in school because there can be 5 hours of classes before lunch. However when lunchtime arrives it's great, you go to the canteen and basically get a dinner handed to you. I would recommend bringing something to read while the class is working and the teacher isn't speaking, it makes the day go quicker.

Outside of school, I went on many outings with Josse and his friends. We went to a huge motorbike race called Enduropale du Touquet, it was on the beach and one of the guys had an apartment there so we stayed there for the weekend. I went surfing twice a week which was a new sport for me. It was so relaxing to just chill in the sea and the view was amazing. I also went to a few museums and Nausicaa which is a huge aquarium in the North of France.

Josse has 2 brothers and 2 sisters, I got to meet 3 of them which was great. I would recommend choosing a correspondent with brothers /sisters if possible because it makes the time at the house a lot more interesting and fun.

Overall, my French has hugely improved, listening especially. It's surprising how much you can learn in a month. My French is at the level now that French is an easy subject in school. That's just one of the benefits of doing an exchange. You will discover the French way of life and also make friends for life. My exchange is something I will always remember and be grateful for. I highly recommend everyone to do an exchange regardless of your level of French.

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