On arriving at Vichy, it wasn’t long before my French host family was there to welcome me to the town. I took my time in the afternoon to relax, and prepare myself for the ensuing test the next day, for placement, to begin my French in the appropriate level. I landed in A2, which works for me! The classes have been a perfect match but the workshops became far too easy for me by the end of my first week. Not to worry because the teachers are super friendly and amicable! If there is space, I’ll be moved up on Monday, if not, I will wait a week, when everyone will be rearranged according to their progress. Some students find grammar easy but speaking hard, and vice versa. For me, I feel I’ve excelled very quickly being completely immersed in the French culture and my writing has caught up to my speaking.
Every day has been classes and a generous 2 hour lunch period followed by nightly homework, snacking, dinner and speaking with Magali & Valery as well as their three lovely children. In general, Vichy has been exceptionally receptive in comparison to Paris (the big smoke), the people are here to help and it’s been very reminiscent of my home town, Brisbane. It’s quiet, and relaxed. There are a lot of fun things to do, with an equestrian centre, thermal spa, a surprisingly varied selection of shops, lovely parks, a lake and a river for strolling.
There are a lot of afternoon and nightly activities available for students with Pole University (CAVILAM). I prefer French cinema, and therefore attended the free screenings. Each week the school will release a program schedule for the week with free and paid activities available. For me, my pleasure is taken in eating & shopping! Oh boy is it hard to keep to any New Year resolutions, so just definitely shelf them until after your trip, if you plan to make your way here for an intake. I have saved my money for food, over activities! My friends went on a hike today on a nearby mountain with beautiful views, but oh la la, I bought a lovely bunch of macarons (they’re lovely). There they are all standing in a row, One, Two, Three, Four!
A petit cake as well during my stroll around town. Rather than eating out every lunch, I’ve returned to the house to make yummy sandwiches with the ingredients I bought from the local supermarket called “Monoprix”. Everything is at your fingertips, including my daily pastry habits, and my shopping habits, and my chocolate habits.
Finally, I’ve retired for the Saturday afternoon, walking around town in the sunshine, relaxing with an afternoon coffee and an afternoon treat, writing to you and thinking about how I am going to fit all the clothes I’ve bought into my luggage case and how I am going to fit into my clothes after this trip. Perhaps a walk to the lake will give me time to develop a regime, while the sun is out! Until next time, à bientôt!
University of California San Diego/ United States of America
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