Miss French: 2 week A-level Revision course
I expected there would be more A-level students (there were only 5 of us) on the French A level revision course. I thought my French generally, rather than just A-level topics would improve. I thought most of my time would be spent working really hard. I expected more freedom in the evenings because of the curfew set by my parents before we left.
Things were different from my expectations, but not in a bad way and probably only because I had never been on a language course before. The small class was definitely good because we got more attention. I liked studying at a French language school and my French definitely improved. I enjoyed the lessons – I benefited, but I could have worked harder and longer each day.
I really enjoyed the lessons. I’m much better now at listening and if I cant find the exact way of saying things, I can explain my way around it. My teacher Nicole was fantastic; really encouraging, friendly and fun! She corrected us without making us feel silly and made a real difference, because with someone less positive we might not have made such progress. It was a good mix of reading, writing, listening and talking, and I think the role-plays were very helpful. It was also good that Nicole only spoke French to us.
I liked the school. The teachers were cheerful and friendly. The school was fairly central in terms of where all the host families lived and if you lived further away it was easy to get a bus nearby. The best parts of the course were the friends I made, the activities, the town, the beach and the improvement in my French. The worst part of the course is that it was too short; I would have loved to have stayed longer!
I think it’s good that the course is aimed at A-level students – that was on of my reasons for choosing it. However, I also liked the fact that there were students of other nationalities in my class, as I wouldn’t normally have got to know them at home. I met some brilliant people and made some really good friends partly because you are around each other so constantly for 2 weeks. The excursions/activities were excellent – I tried so many new things like surfing and rafting and enjoyed all of them so much. Having said that I `m also glad we had a lot of free time to explore Biarritz on our own.
Biarritz is so beautiful, the beaches and the sea are stunning. The weather was amazing! Prices for food varied a lot according to how far you were prepared to move from the beach, but they were never too bad. Also you pay for what you get e.g. at an expensive crêperie the crêpes are far superior to those that are cheaper. The people were friendly, welcoming and cheerful – but laugh a lot if you get sunburnt!! I felt safe in the town despite living slightly out of the centre.
All students should visit the “48 parfums” ice cream parlour just along from the Grand Plage, because they do some really bizarre flavours but nearly all are delicious. It’s worth investigating the crêperie along from Place Ste Eugenie because they’re the best. We spent a lot of time listening to musicians who played at Place Ste Eugenie and by the casino most nights. During the day we spent a lot of time on the beach, we visited Bayonne and we went to the Musee du chocolate (well worth a visit just for the freebies). If you decide to do ‘the little train ride’ it is prettiest at night, but go at the start of your course because by the end you will have seen everything on the route already.
The host family were friendly, and at mealtimes we all sat down together and talked and they asked me about my day. We had lots of laughs. The food was good and the lunches much better than some of my friends. I would think the family would be particularly good for slightly younger students, but having said that I enjoyed my stay and the family understood when I wanted to go out in the evenings.
I found CESA staff informative, helpful and friendly and the student’s information pack reassuringly detailed.
I would recommend others to go. This was the first time I ever went away on my own, and it was fabulous! I met people who I will never forget because they had such an impact on my life. I gained confidence both personally and linguistically. I was inspired by this trip to improve my French and keep going even when it gets difficult. I had two wonderful weeks, which I enjoyed enormously; I tried new things, which I had never dreamt I would do. My French skills developed significantly and my interest in the subject was rekindled!