Lauren Gane

    Lauren Gane is in France with the British Council. She is linked with Borestone Primary in Stirling.

    Entries for October 2014

    Let's go! On y va!

    As previously warned by those with hindsight, my first two weeks here in France have been a bit of a whirlwind and certainly tiring. But after much paper work and a lot of expectation and apprehension, it is certainly a relief to be settling in to my new home in Les Herbiers, France.

    Situated on the west coast of France, in the Pays de Loire region, it is still a little away from the bustling hubbub of the capital, Nantes. Although this seemed a disadvantage at first, with only a few buses by means of public transport, I am more and more thankful that I have been posted here. With a short walk, or a few minutes on a somewhat questionably sounding bike (on the wrong side of the road for me, which was an experience) you can reach the picturesque town centre which has everything you could need. Most importantly, an amazing bakery, as how better to soak up some French culture that with a coffee and a pain au chocolat. (The questionable sounding bike is making more sense now.) A tranquil town during the day, the town centre comes alive on the weekend evenings and is a fantastic way to meet those who live here and enjoy a few drinks with new friends and practice some French.

    Having been here for nearly three weeks now, I am becoming more accustomed to the nuances of French culture, such as the difference in eating habits. Lunch seems to be the biggest meal of the day and is a longer and somewhat more social affair than that of what I am used to. Not only do the French consume more for lunch than they do for their evening meal, they make sure to wish everyone “bon appétit” before doing so. This goes along with, “bonne journée”, “bon après-midi” and “bonne soirée”, depending on the time of day, something I am becoming very fond of, even if I wish people the wrong one more often than not. This goes to show how friendly and welcoming everyone here has been at Lycée Jean Monnet, my home and work for the next 7 months. I also have a few hours a week at the neighbouring college Jean Rostand, working with younger students. In all my classes I have received a very warm welcome, from teachers and pupils, and have spent my first few weeks getting to know the pupils and introducing them to Scottish culture and showing them a few pictures. Questions ranged from “What’s your name?” and “Do you like France” to the more astute “Can you explain the Independence Referendum?” and of course the comical "How can we find you on social media?". I hope I managed to answer the students initial questions (although not the social media one), and give them some more information over the coming months.

    As for news concerning those the other side of the water, I am delighted to be linked with Borestone Primary School in Stirling which I had the pleasure to visit before I set off for France, in order to meet the pupils in P5 and P6. They had lots of questions for me about France, which I hope to answer during my time here to give them a better understanding of life in a foreign country and hopefully inspire them to take their first steps to learning another language. Postcards are on their way!

    Although I do miss my family and friends and I have no doubt that this year will be challenging, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to immerse myself in another culture and really get to grips with the language, as there is only so much you can learn in a classroom and it really comes down to spending several months in the country itself. It is no surprise that I am really looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring.

    À bientôt!

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