Tuesday, June 1, 2010
First Days of School
Yesterday and today, I attended my first days of French immersion school at Chateau de Boigne in Chambéry (the photo is of the back of the castle). So far, I have really enjoyed myself and I hope to become semi-fluent in French by the end of school. Yesterday upon arrival us new students were ushered into a magnificent room in the chateau to take a written exam (for placement purposes). I was more enthralled with the interior decoration than the exam--le château est très beau! The exam was okay, and I definitely think that having Spanish and Italian helped me. Following the written exam, each of us had an individual oral exam with a professor to further ensure we were placed in the appropriate group. My professor, Kristel, was a fellow ginger, so I immediately took a liking to her. She began spewing off French questions and when she realized I had no idea what she was talking about, she began to speak English. She asked me basic things, such as "Where are you from?" "What are your hobbies?" Why are you here to learn French?" I think her favorite part of my oral exam was when she asked me to say all of the French words I know. I confidently stated "Je voudrais du fromage, s'il te plait." ("I would like cheese, please!"). Kristel the Ginger exclaimed "Yes! Bravo! That is all you need to know in this region. Parfait!" Following the oral exam, I was free to go, but I had to return to the castle later that afternoon to get my class schedule. When I returned, I got my schedule and my group. I'm in the beginner group and have class twenty hours a week (four hours a day, five days a week).
Today was the first day of lessons. I arrived at school a little early to find my classroom and meet the other people in my group. In total, there are six of us: quatre Americaines, une Chinoise, et une Russe (four American girls, a Chinese girl, and a Russian girl). Everyone is really nice and seems passionate about learning, which is definitely an integral component for success. Today we learned how to count (up to one billion! Un milliard in French). We also learned how to introduce ourselves and others, the verbs to have (avoir) and to be (etre), and how to identify people of different nationalities. It was definitely a long day and when it was time to leave, I was exhausted. I am excited to begin speaking French, but in order to do so, I should go study now!