by Rachael Ainsworth, Greenheart Travel High School Abroad Participant in France
|Right now, I feel no different in my ability to understand, speak, or write French. But then I look back to when I arrived in this beautiful country two and a half months ago and I realize just how much I have improved. Upon my arrival in France I could barely hold on a simple conversation such as “Hi, How are you” because everyone seemed to be speaking a mile a minute. I could write in French but it was VERY garbled, often to the point of being incomprehensible. I walked around with my pocket dictionary and my little European translator machine thingamabob. I didn’t talk to anyone and no one talked to me. I didn’t understand how to greet the different people; should I shake hands with the guys and do the “kiss-kiss” thing with the girls? Or should I just wave and say hi? I still don’t know exactly how to greet people in every scenario but I no longer look like a blundering idiot/ tourist.Now, looking back, I realize that I have come a long way. I understand all of my classes and it is often like they are in English. I have fun conversations with my friends, I can make jokes and although I don’t always understand right away, I can understand their jokes too. When I write in French, my overall grammar is pretty darn awesome but I still miss the small things such as when to use “cette” versus “ces” or “cet”, the French have based the majority of their grammar on the way phrases sound which means that some of their rules have no explanation and I just have to guess. My professor of Francais (Language Arts) told me today that I have improved a lot in my writing.
I am still so glad I am on this adventure; I love my city and all the people in it.