Cormac’s Easter trip to France

Head of French, M. Didier writes: 

Following the example of Arthur C, Alex A and Andrew C last year, Cormac decided to go to France to perfect his French ahead of the A Level Summer examinations. He follows a long trend of students who took themselves out of their comfort zone to  spend time abroad. Last Christmas and Easter Nikita went to Spain and in the Summer Sam C went to France. It is refreshing to see that Clayesmore equipped our students with the confidence to step into the unknown and apply themselves to improve their language skills. They all have had great experience, improved their language skills and most of all they learned a lot about themselves too. At a time when European relations are increasingly becoming tense, it is more and more important to to teach the next generation to understand their European neighbours and to want to experience how they live. You can read how Cormac got on and see how good our A Level linguists are by the time they finish their A Level course.

“Pendant les vacances de Pâques, en préparation de mes examens mais aussi parce que je ne voulais pas passer trois semaines et demie à réviser, j’ai décidé d’aller à Grenoble pour rester dans une famille française afin d’améliorer mon français. Cette idée était intimidante au début, et je ne savais pas trop si je voulais y aller ou si mon français était suffisant. Mes suppositions étaient en partie correctes et, au début, comprendre la langue dans un contexte différent était très difficile, mais en quelques jours, je me suis senti très à l’aise et je me suis retrouvé à comprendre de plus en plus la conversation. La famille était très accueillante. J’ai eu l’occasion de découvrir certains des patrimoines moins connus de la France, comme les superbes grottes de Choranche. Les journées étaient bien remplies et j’étais très heureux de ne pas avoir à faire des révisions tout en apprenant la langue parce que j’étais constamment occupé. J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir visiter l’université de Grenoble et d’assister à quelques conférences. Je dois admettre que j’ai compris très peu le cours de biologie. Cependant, de ce que j’ai compris de la structure de la Psychologie, j’ai trouvé cela très intrigant. Je continue de réaliser, lors de mes échanges avec d’autres pays, que les jeunes sont beaucoup plus semblables que ce à quoi je m’attendais, et qu’il est de plus en plus facile de s’intégrer et de discuter de sujets différents. À l’époque, j’avais un projet à faire en français et c’était très intéressant d’obtenir un avis direct sur la laïcité d’une famille qui avait vécu l’adoption de nouvelles lois et du système d’éducation, et j’estime que cela m’a aidé pour mieux comprendre et à être plus analytique. En partant, je me suis senti attristé et souhaitais pouvoir rester plus longtemps, car j’avais le sentiment que mes compétences linguistiques s’amélioraient constamment, et que si je restais quelques mois en plus, je parlerais presque couramment. Après le voyage, j’envisage définitivement de faire des études là-bas, et peut-être de travailler là-bas. Dans l’ensemble, je suis très heureux que je sois sorti de ma zone de confort et que j’ai géré mes 9 jours sans trop de problèmes et que je suis devenu beaucoup plus confiant en mon français, et je le recommanderais à toute personne apprenant une langue, peu importe leur niveau.”

“During the Easter holiday, in preparation for my exams but also because I didn’t want to spend three and a half weeks revising I decided to go to Grenoble to stay with a French family to improve my French. The thought was daunting at first, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go, or if my French was good enough. My assumptions were partially right, and at first understanding the language in a different setting was very challenging, but in a matter of days I was feeling very at home, and found myself understanding more and more of the conversation. The family was very welcoming. I got to experience some of the less well known heritage of France, like the superb grotto of Choranche. The days were packed, and I felt very pleased with myself that I didn’t actually have to do my french revision whilst learning the language because I was constantly immersed. I was lucky enough to be able to visit the university at Grenoble, and experience a few lectures. I have to admit that I understood very little of the biology lecture, however from what I understood of the psychology lecture, I found it very intriguing. I continue to realise through visiting other countries on exchanges that young people are much more similar than I expect, and fitting in and conversing about topics comes easier every day. At the time, I had a project to do for French, and it was very interesting to get a first person opinion on secularism from a family who had lived through new laws being passed and the education system, and I think that this insight helped me to gain a further understanding help me be more analytical. Upon leaving, I felt saddened and wished I could stay longer, as I felt that my language skills were constantly improving, and if I were to stay for a few months or so, I would be almost fluent. After the trip, I am definitely considering doing some further education over there, maybe working there. All in all I am very glad that I took myself out of my comfort zone, and managed my nine days without too much trouble, and became much more confident in my french, and I would recommend it to anyone learning a language, no matter their level.”