Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Random stuff

Well it's another week and since i don't really have that much exciting news i'm going to explain some of the things i've discovered since i've been in France...good, interesting and different.

Well i'm going to tell you a bit more about school because for me that's something i found, and still find, very different to Australia. It actually makes me appreciate being educated in Australia and realise how lucky we are when it comes to school. I miss school in Australia which is quite funny. First of all hours here are long...8am starts and 6pm finishes and one hour in the middle of the day for lunch. Lessons are an hour long but usually french and history and geography are double periods. For those who don't know students in France can choose from three streams of subjects, L, ES and S. I started off in an ES class and now i'm in L. Within these streams there are set subjects with very limited choice over other subjects. Everybosy gets to choose a specialty for two hours of lessons a week but thats pretty much all the choice they get. ES and S both have two classes in my year, premiere, btu in my class, L, there are only 9 people, all girls. This isn't surprising because it seems to be the more rigorous and serious stream with more difficult french lessons and an emphasis on langauges. The lessons here tend to be quite boring with teachers using a more lecture type style and expecting the students to make their own notes. Homework and tests are given often with very high expectations and pressure put on students. Marks are usually out of 20, sometimes 10, and anything of 12 or higher is very much acceptable. Teachers have a friendly relationship with the students though, just like a home, and they can be very reasonable and supportive. One thing that really surprised me when i first arrived though was that the French have not discovered substitute teachers. If the teacher isn't there you don't have class so some days end surprisingly early. In fact i have no school at all tomorrow because i usually only have two hours of french but the teacher isn't there so i don't have to go. Another thing, lunches are provided free for all students enrolled at the school and they are full hot lunches including bread, fruit, dairy and desert. They are usually pretty good but some days none of the options are very appetising. What else about school...hmmm. Well sport here is pretty funny for me because so far i've done two sports that don't really exist in Aus. I did two weeks of handball when i first arrived and found that quite fun. Since then i've been doing course d'orientation which is also fun but i personally fund it pretty dangerous. Pretty much we get on a bus and go to a special location about 20 minutes out of town. We have to get in pairs and i go with my friend Manon and each pair is given a map and a piece of paper with the numbers 1 to 30 on it.On the map are the corresponding numbers in red and they are stations that you have to find. You record the stations you find by punching a hole on the numbered piece of paper. The tricky and dangerous part of it is that you're in full woods with limited trails, running on uneven ground and rockes, crawling under barbed wire fences, trying to fight through prickly bushes and all just to get the hole punch. Last week i ended up with scratches all over my hands and legs, i slid down two steep dirty slopes, nearly killed my ankles numerous times and went down one leafy hill on my bottom. It's a heck of a lot of fun though and it feels so good when you maanage to find one. It's also very physical because it's one hour of navigating through the bush and running to try and find as many as you can. Ahh i love it!!! Another thing i found different and a little bit shocing at first was the number of people who smoke here. After every two lessons there is a ten minute break and practically everyone heads just outside the school for a cigarette. I always go with my friends but they know i don't smoke and they don't mind. They think i'll smoke by the end of my exhange but that's one aspect of french culture i won't be adopting. I've also surprised the other exchange students by doing the classwork and homework here. They tell me i don't have to do it and that they don't do it but for me it's something i feel i have to do. Although i have finished school at home part of my life here is school and i feel like i should take it at least somewhat seriously. I also think it helps me learn french and the teachers seem to like that i try to do the work. I always do the work in maths and english....maths is an easier level than i did at home and english is english. For one of my english teachers though i have to do all the work in french and i find that very beneficial. Last week i had to do a presentation on my values that my class did in english..i got 7.5/10 for mine and i was pretty happy with that. I also helped my friend with hers and she got 8/10 so i'm really happy for her. She's really improving and she's so happy that she's getting better so i'm glad i can help her. The only subject i struggle to do the work and homework in is spanish but i try my best and do whatever work i can.The other thing is the lack of uniform factor. To be honest i hate's so much easier waking up and putting on a uniform. Not having to worry about what you're wearing or what you look like is so much better. Some girls here go so over the top at school it's crazy...

What else can i tell you about my french life...Oh yeah english music here is very popular and whenever i listen to the radio in the car majority of the songs are in english. It's also pretty funny because my host dad sings and plays guitar and he sings along to the radio with his cute little accent. I swear they don't know what they're singing though sometimes because some pretty obscene songs that would never be palyed unedited at home are played quite often here and they sing along to all the words. It's also very popular among kids in my class to swear or sing in english a lot...some kids swear at me in english whenever they see me. Not because they're being rude but because they know i'm Australian and that's the only english they know.

Another strange phenomenon here is that i'm expected to be the expert on everything that happens in the english speaking world. Which is fine if i know the answer but it's been very awkward all the times i've had to say, "je ne sais pas". People have also been very curious about Australia and my life there. Australia, and the people, have a good reputation here and everyone loves to talk to me about my country...especially kangaroos haha Being in France has made me realise how much i really do love Australia nd the lifestyle.. There are definitely things i love here and i'm going to miss when i go home and France will always hold a special place in my heart but i really think i want to live in Newcastle. I just love the city and the beach and the people and the atmosphere.

Well i've made quite a few lists since i've been here. Things i like, things i don't, things i miss etc. I think it's a good time to share some of them.

Let's start with things i love about FRANCE:
- The sheer beauty of this has some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and the grass is actually green here.
- The history: everything has some historical tale attached to it and the architecture is so old and fascinating.
- Can't go past the churches or the castles either...they're always so gorgeous.
- The pride the french people have in their country, it's history and their language.
- The close proximity to other i love that aspect of europe
- the's so pretty and i feel so good when i speak it.

ok now on to things i don't like about France (YET!!!):
- The cold...well here at least..winter was freezing and soemtimes i seriously thought my toes were going to fall off they were that cold.
- The food...well at least the meal times..only having three meals a day is a real struggle for me..i still get hungry at times when i can't have a meal and struggle to eat heaps at the meal time
- getting up so early for school..6am wake up calls
- the amount of swearing used in conversation
- the smoking

and finally the things i miss about Aus:
- my family and friends...there really isn't a day that goes by where i don't think about you...lots of things here remind me of you and when i see such beautiful things i wish you could be here to see them too.
- My pets..i miss cuddling and playing with them...having pets here just isn't the same
- Speaking english and understanding what's going in all the time..i miss not feeling lost in conversation and not having to worry about somebody asking me a questions i can't answer
- feeling completely comfortable
- the sun, the heat and the beach
- the aussie attitude and people
- being able to drive and being independant
- coaching and being at the gym
- my own bed and my bedroom
- KFC and all other food that i love at home

Well i know the i miss list is kinda long but i really am having a great time ere at the moment. The list is just a bist of refelction on my two lives...yes i consider them two lives. For some reason they don't seem like the same life to me. They're so different and separate at the moment.

Well one last thing to add. I feel like i have the most amazing host sister int he entire world. We have such a great relationship and she feels just likea real sister to me. We talk and do homework and watch movies and tease each other and have fun together. It's so great knowing i have someone i get along with so well to talk to here and relax with. I can't believe how great this family is for me and how lucky i am. They're not perfect but no family is and i have no major problems. I also think i'm not a person prone to complaining so i just focus on the good stuff..and there is quite a lot of that so i'm stoked. I also think they are happy to have hosted me so i feel good about that. They love speaking english sometimes and helping me with my french so i hope they feel hosting was a positive experience for them. Well that's the end of my reflections for now. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Wow this is great Uncle Jon just showed us your Blog. Love Kim & Guy