Ellen Ingram

    Ellen Ingram is in France with the British Council. She is linked with Alva Academy in Clackmannanshire.

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    First week in Sarreguemines

    It has now been over a week since I moved to Sarreguemines in France and I am really starting to settle in here.

    Sarreguemines is a town situated right on the French/German border filled with lovely old-fashioned houses and many little shops, cafes and brasseries. I work and live at one of the high schools in the town called Lycée Jean de Pange, where about two thousand 15-18 year olds go to school. I also work at another school called Collège Fulrad for two hours per week. I stay in an apartment in the school with the German assistant called Linda who is a very nice girl and we get along well.

    The first week has been quite strange as it has been quite difficult to get used to a new language and culture, however all the teachers at the school have been very welcoming and eager to help me with anything. The pupils at the schools have also been welcoming and are keen to find out more about Scotland and also improve their English skills. This week I will start to take my first classes and I am really looking forward to showing the pupils photos of Scotland and teaching them about our culture.

    The culture here is so different to Scotland and I think that I have started to adapt to the French way of living. Most people here eat their main meal at lunch time and only a small meal such as a sandwich later on in the evening, which I found strange at first but I actually now prefer to do this. Most of the time I eat my lunch at the canteen with the other teachers and then in the evening I have a baguette with some cheese and ham (I really am becoming more French!). The school day is also so much longer here, the pupils arrive at 8am and then the last classes finish at 5pm so the Scots are very lucky indeed.

    During my free time I have explored Sarreguemines with Linda and visited other places in the surrounding area. Linda and I have spent time walking around the town and relaxing in brasserie’s drinking ‘un chocolat chaud’ or sometimes at the weekend ‘un verre de vin’. Most of the food and drink here is amazing, especially the croissants which are absolutely delicious!

    On Friday all of the assistants in the area met up in Nancy for an induction day. It was lovely to meet other assistants in the area and get to speak to people who are in the same boat as me. Everyone was very friendly and I hope that I will meet up with some of them in the near future.

    Saturday was a great day. I spent the day with my mentor Marianne (an English teacher at the school) and her family in a small town in Germany. We went out for lunch to an authentic Italian restaurant in a town called Blieskastel, the food was really tasty. After lunch I was shown around by the family, the town was so pretty- it looked like something from a Disney movie! Before heading back to Marianne’s we went to get some Italian ice cream which was also delicious. At Marianne’s house she made me a great cup of tea which tasted just like the tea I drink at home in Scotland. In the evening I went to a Brasserie in Sarreguemines with Linda and had a great time with her too.

    So all in all, my first week has been pretty amazing. Although I do feel homesick and miss my friends and family, the experiences which I will get to have here over the next 8 months will be worth it. I just need to keep busy exploring new places and meeting new people, and of course- improving my French! 

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