French Tour 2014 - Christopher Bradley (10CW)
The French exchange has been one of my most memorable experiences. We have all enjoyed our time in France and learnt a lot throughout our visits and conversations with our host families.
The first week, we toured around most of the well-known Parisian landmarks. We learnt a lot about the French history, its architecture and culture. We saw many incredible buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur Basilica, the Champs Elysées, the Louvre museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral. We also had to practise our French when we ordered our lunch or bought souvenirs in touristy shops.
The second week, we were totally thrown into the language and culture as we spent 10 days living with a French family. We experienced the French ways in terms of eating (we ate a lot of bread and croissants), schooling (we finished at 6pm most days) and spare time (we visited some amazing places in and around Le Mans).
By far the biggest challenge was to communicate but it was fun to practise the language and I am happy to have progressed thus far with my oral skills (after only two weeks). Despite a few misunderstandings with our exchanges, we all agreed that our time with our host families was a worthwhile experience.
After the 10 days were over, I felt like I 'belonged' in my partner's family and I didn't want to leave; although, I was also looking forward to the rest of the study tour.
After we said our goodbyes to the French families and gave them mini koalas as a token of our appreciation, we headed off to the North-West of France to continue our exploration of this fantastic region. The city of Tours greeted us with a downpour of rain but this wasn't enough to sap our excitement as we explored mushroom caves, the Chateau of Chenonceau, the Chateau Royal of Amboise and Leonardo Da Vinci's last home ? the Clos Lucé.
During the last few days we visited the Bayeux tapestries and the Normandy D-Day beaches which were as enjoyable and intriguing as the rest of the tour.
I am very grateful to have been able to come on this French exchange because I have learnt a lot about myself, my friends, my peers and the French language/culture. I also hope I will have the opportunity to travel to France again. I would definitely recommend anyone who learns the language to participate in this French study tour in the years to come.