Hey, my name is Cian McGettigan and I am a transition year student at St Michaels College Dublin currently on a six week French learning experience in Narbonne, southern France. I am writing this blog 5 days in on my trip and I am enjoying it hugely , it has exceeded my expectations immensely and I’m especially surprised as to how comfortable I feel in my surroundings after only 5 days.
I arrived to carcassonne airport on Saturday morning where I was greeted by my host family. They were very friendly from the start and I immediately knew I was going to be in good hands over the next few weekends. The host family and I went back to their house , and it was actually one of the kids birthday who had turned 17. His name is Tristan and he has been very nice and helpful so far. So there was a small party in the house with a barbecue which was a very pleasant way to spend my first night in France. Some of the family do speak English and their relatives also but I did my best to inform them that I would be able to understand them in French , if they just spoke abit slower !
The weekend went fast and before I knew it , Monday morning arrived which meant my first day of school. Because I play rugby in Dublin , the school ‘Lycée Beauséjour’ were aware of this and so put me into a class which had all the rugby players in it and so this common interest resulted in getting to know a few people before noon that day , which was extremely helpful. It went as abit of a snowball affect from there , because when you get to know a few people they introduce you to a few more and then those people introduce you to others and so on , and before you know it, although nobody knows how to pronounce your name correctly , people have a fair idea of who you are and are keen to make you feel as welcome as possible. A tip would be definitely don’t be shy and try keep conversations going as long as possible so that people invited you into their groups.
I am boarding in my school on weekdays and the rooms are very nice. They are big and spacious and you develop a great friendship with the boarders beside you very fast. I remember on the first night of school there were around 6 guys in my room who I share with another person until about 12 that night and we only suffered the consequences when we had to be up and at breakfast before 7! I have gotten used to the early starts now and I just go to bed a bit earlier than I would at home. During the day classes are 8-4 with two 15 minute breaks and an hour for lunch. The classes are hard to understand but everyone makes an effort to make you feel as welcome as they can , especially the English teacher who has been extraordinary with regards to any questions we have about the school.
The school environment is very cool , and reminds me of the stereotype American high school that I have seen in movies. There is no uniform which is very nice for a change and also there is such a vast range of people in the school with a widespread collection of interests and hobbies , from French national swimmers to maths and history scholars. There really is a place for everyone it seems which is a very positive energy to be involved in 5 days a week.
So all is going well so far, I’m enjoying it a lot and i will be back with another blog in a few days!
Until then 🙂
This is a photo of me and my house family at dinner.