Rachael Keating : 1 wk French and Fun
I expected the French classes to feel very long and hard, to learn lots, meet lots of new people mainly from Ireland and England and to have a bit of fun.
The classes flew by and didn’t feel as long as they really were at all, as they were designed to be fun, using up to date magazine articles and listening to French songs. Most students surprisingly were from Germany and Austria and this made it all the more interesting learning about their schools etc. Also because not all of them spoke English this meant we had to speak in French which helped to improve my French even more. The activities were a great way to meet the other teenagers on the French language course and have fun.
The classes were sorted out well; I was in a class that was exactly right for my level, which felt great. I liked the fact that the classes were full of active learning and we acted out a lot of role plays and worked in groups which really helped my oral French.
I loved the French language school. The building was fabulous and modern. Facilities were great with plenty of ping pong tables and deck chairs in the shade where you could sit out on your breaks and relax. The French staff were amazing. They were all so motivated and young and always up for a laugh. The animateurs used to join in with us at breaks and we saw them as friends rather than adults who were in charge of us which created a great atmosphere overall in the school. There was a bus stop right outside the school where you could get the bus in to town if you didn’t feel like walking which was handy.
I loved the freedom we had in the afternoons. No one was forced to do any of the activities and if you chose not to do one of the activities you could meet up with your friends and head off for the afternoon to the beach, or in to Antibes centre or take a bus ride to explore a nearby village.
Antibes is the ideal location for teenagers to experience a French language course as its not too big, there’s a great bus service, plenty of fabulous beaches, the shops are great and there’s always something to do. Some local people were willing to speak French to us out of class, in the cafes and little shops, but in other places they just spoke English to us straight away even if we addressed them in French. I felt very safe as I was always with a big group of friends and Antibes was a nice area with a great atmosphere. I had a great social life, we used to all meet up at the beach or harbour at night and hang out having a chat.
I stayed in French host accommodation, in an apartment which was at the max. a 5 minute walk from the school. It was so handy being able to leave the apartment just five minutes before my classes were due to start and this also meant I got the most amount of sleep possible! I felt that my oral French really improved as a result of staying with a host family as my host mum had no English. Also staying with a host family really gives you a feel for the French way of life. I had my own very spacious room with lots of storage space and there was no limit as to the amount of showers a day you could take. My host mum was so nice and she even brought me to the beach on my first day and showed me the best places to go.
I booked my stay the day before my arrival as the centre I was originally meant to had closed down. We talked with a lovely helpful lady at CESA on the phone who had everything arranged for us within an hour. Every other centre had turned us away saying it was too late, but this lady did everything in her power to make our trip possible. Instead of the week being a disaster she turned it into a great success.
Note from CESA: Please don’t try and book a course 24hrs in advance if you can avoid it – we’ll always do our best for you (but in the busy summer season this really isn’t advised!).