Thursday, June 8, 2017

My School Year in France: More Than Just Academics

           Tomorrow, I will do it for the last time. My host parents will wake me up in the morning, and I will force myself out of bed to go see my friends. More precisely, I will get up and get ready for school. My host mom will drive me down to the bus stop, where we will sit and chat for a few minutes before giving each other a morning hug. I will then get on the bus, which is not yellow, for the record. It seems like not so long ago I was doing these things for the first time in this town.

           School in France taught me much more than just academics. By immersing myself in French and the French lifestyle every day, I was able to learn about the culture and language. I lived something many others won't. School here is so different than in the US. The teachers are more distant, the days and lunches are longer, the students are put in specific classes for their future, and from my experience, the students are closer to each other. It's not better than the US, it's not worse, it's just different. Personally, I really like this school system.

             While my host mom was worrying about how I would adapt to my new school and make friends in January, I was learning how to do just that. I was getting by in the language, and I was adapting, for the second time. While many of my relationships in the US date back to so long ago that I don't know how they formed, I saw relationships form themselves right in front of my very eyes here. I still remember who approached me first at my schools and who came back. I remember the first day at my second school when Maxime came up to tell me that I probably could come in later the next day because there was a test. I remember when I was so confused with the schedule and Mathilde and Elsa (from different schools) came to my rescue.

             Anyhow, I did make intellectual progress as well. Not able to read a simple chapter book in French when I arrived, I can now read French literature with the others. I understand biology class, and I finished the year off with a test that was finally graded! I've done math concepts in French. Even if I don't understand it all now, I at least am a little more familiar with it than at the beginning, and I bonded with my friends and my host mom as they explained the lessons to me.

            What will I miss the most about this school year? Will it be the lunches in town that I ate out with my friends, either during breaks or when we finished class early? Will it be not having the afternoon off Wednesdays and Thursdays? Will it be when I remember the Wednesdays my friends accompanied me to where I ate out with my host parents and my host mom yelled back at us "You guys are so slow!!!" Will it be the pride I had as I did real French schoolwork on my own? Most likely, I think it will be the people that have brought me this far. I've loved every minute of it. It's safe to say this has been one of the best school years of my life.


No comments:

Post a Comment