First Day of French Class

August 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm (French, Lille, School, Study Abroad) (, , )

Today, we had our first(ish) day of the pre-university French class that I am taking.  All we did today was meet 2 or the 3 teachers and take test to show the teachers our French abilities (they assured us it would not be graded and they would be the only ones to see it!).

I met up with K, the other girl from UR here, and we walked over to the building where the French class was.  I had thought that there would be a bunch of different classes, one for each ability level that we had to determine a few months ago when signing up for the class, but instead, there are less than 15 of us in total, and we are all in the same class.  There are two Japenese students, one Mexican, one Brazilian, and about ten of us Americans.

The test was made up of four parts: listening, speaking, reading comprehension, and writing.  Since I had understood everything the teachers had said up to this point, I assumed I would be fine on the listening part, even if we were only able to hear each part once.  Boy, was I wrong!  The French was spoken rapid-fire and I barely caught a single word, much less a phrase, that I understood.  Talking to K after the test, I was happy to hear that I was not the only one thrown off by this.

For the speaking, the teachers simply talked to us one-on-one in a separate room, asking us about ourselves and how much French we had had, etc.  I think I did fairly well, except when trying to describe my major.  I finally had to give up and say that I was studying Communication.

The reading and writing sections weren’t terrible, but I still think I did terribly on them.  I guess it doesn’t really matter though, since we’ll all be in the same class anyway, and it’s not like I’d be placed in a remedial class, relearning the basics.  For the writing, there was this one word I kept trying to remember, and it never came to me, until a conversation concerning a different topic while talking with K later.  I could only remember the Latin!

After the test, I waited around for K, and had the chance to talk to two other American students, one of whom reminds me strongly of a friend at UR.  There seems to be one school in PA that sent about 6 students to this one program, so they all know each other.  In general, it seems like a good group of people in the class, so I think it will go pretty well.  The class is set up in two blocks a day, one from 9am-12:30, and then reconvening from 2-5pm, so we’ll be spending a lot of time together!  The first block sounds like it is going to be like a French class in the US, with grammar and culture and all that jazz, while the second part is totally focused on conversation.  It will definitely be tough, but good.  And we get Fridays off.  So this is my schedule for the next week and a half, after which school starts officially, I believe.

After class, K and I went to the grocery store and picked up a few things, grabbed lunch together and then split to our separate dorms, where I have stayed since.  Nothing too exciting.  Tomorrow will be interesting, as I have really enjoyed being able to escape to my English-centered world.  Ah well, it’s good for me, right?  That’s what I have to keep telling myself…

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