NICK’S FIRST WEEK IN SAINT AFFRIQUE

Hi, I’m Nick Eustace, I’m a fourth-year student in St Michael’s College. I am currently in a small town in the south of France which is called Saint Affrique.I am here to learn and improve my French as I hope to do well in French in my Leaving Certificate.

On the flight from Dublin to Toulouse

The adventure begins when you step off the plane!

On the train to Albi

My first week has flown by as it has been very fun. My trip all started when I flew from Dublin to Toulouse. The flight was around 2 hours long, but despite bit of turbulence we safely landed in Toulouse. My friend Finian and I then met with the kind French Rep who brought us to the train station in Toulouse. We relaxed for half an hour talking to the rep who was very helpful and assisted us on to the correct train to Albi. After around a 1-hour train journey we were met by my host family who were more than welcoming to us. We got in the car and began our journey to Saint Affrique, arriving at 7o’clock. We then dropped Finian to his host family before going to my host family’s home. I was astonished at how nice and big their house was. They showed me to my room and let me get settled in. I then had a delicious carbonara which set the standard for the food.

French family life isn’t so different

My very first morning in France I went for a walk around Saint Affrique with Maxence, the boy my age in my host family. He showed me the history of the town and taught me some new French vocabulary along the way. That evening I watched the Ireland-Argentina match with Maxence and thankfully Ireland won. That night my host family and I watched the 2018 Music Awards which are the biggest music awards in France. 

Myself and my host sister reading about WWI

The next day was a very historic one for the whole of France as it was the 100-year anniversary of World War 1. My host family and I went to one of their friend’s house’s with 27 other people to watch the World War 1 commemoration ceremony which was being held at the Arc De Triomphe. While watching the ceremony we ate a beautiful French soup that is made only in Aveyron, a region in France, and delicious pork that they had gotten that day. Then I was shown some war memorabilia to add to the occasion. It was incredible seeing uniforms and items that had been used 100 years ago.

On that same day Clémence and I, a young girl in my host family read about World War 1. Once again, I was amazed by how France had been affected by the war. After reading about the war we had a lovely lasagne for dinner.

Becoming a french student!

The next day I went to the school after a terrific weekend with my host family. I went to class with Finian not knowing what to except but I was delighted to find out how nice everybody was to us. It was a bit tricky to understand subjects like chemistry or biology in French but we managed to understand some words so we could follow along. That night Finian and I went to the boarding school and had our dinner with some other borders who were very helpful and friendly. We than were shown to our huge bedroom with a bathroom. It was a great first day in school and since then the days and nights have only gotten better and better in the boarding school. We have thrown ourselves into activities such as archery, rugby and badminton too.

Our beautiful boarding school 

Throughout this week I have learned more and more French and I have had a great time so far.

By Nick Eustace

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