Monday, November 10, 2008

My 1st Day of Class @ the Alliance Française

Today was my first day of class at the Alliance Française! There are a total of 13 students in the class (including me). And as expected (and hoped for) it’s like a little mini-United Nations. Here’s the breakdown of where everyone is from:

United States........... 4 (Michael, Phil, Warren & me)
Iran.................... 1 (Elham)
Saudi Arabia............ 1 (Almanouf)
Finland................. 1 (Piritta)
Italy....................1 (Vincenzo)
Spain....................1 (Ignacio)
Australia................2 (Teresa, Steve)
Japan....................1 (Suich)
Vietnam..................1 (Phoung)

(In case you are wondering how I know this... part of today's lesson was introducing yourself and saying what nationality you are and what language(s) you speak - and doing it all in French of course.)

5 are girls (Elham, Amanouf, Piritta, Teresa & me); the other 8 are guys.

Age range is early 20s to late 60s (guessing). Three of the people are in their 60s, a couple in their 30s and the majority in their 20s.

A few stories to share about the classmates already...

Warren is in his mid-60s and is from rural Illinois. He works for the state government and has lots of vacation time. Like me, he loves Paris (has been here 10+ times) and decided this time around (again, like me) that he should finally attempt to really learn French. He said people at work refer to him as the “Paris guy” since he comes here every year and that he jokes with everyone that he “winters in Paris” since he usually comes around Christmas time. He’s here for 3 weeks renting an apartment in the area of the Bastille.

Teresa is also in her mid-60s. She is from Melbourne, Australia. She's in France for a year! Not sure what she does... She ‘has’ an apartment in Paris, but said she’s splitting her time between Paris and the south of France close to St. Tropez where she is staying in a house that a friend is ‘lending her’ for the year! (Geez, wish I had a friend like that!)

Steve is the other Aussie. He looks like he is in his mid-20s and is from the Brisbane area. He’s in med school and is on break for a few months (I think its summer there now). After class we were on the same Metro train for a few stops and he told me that he’s spending 5 weeks in Paris, a few weeks traveling around Europe, then finishing back up in Paris for Christmas and New Year’s. He’s renting an apartment over by Notre Dame. (And before the comments begin from the peanut gallery... he’s in his mid-20s people!)

As you can tell, I sort of gravitated towards the English speaking people (US & Australia) during breaks and after class today. But I’ll chat up the others (most of whom speak at least some English) and get their stories over the next couple weeks.

As for class itself, I guess it’s good I’m in the ‘absolute beginner’ class. It was a review – today – but I think after maybe one more day it will be all new. It’s really amazing the difference between our educational systems. We covered as much today in 4 hours as a class in the US would in 4 weeks. And their definition of an ‘absolute beginner’ is someone who already knows the basics. For example, when we talked numbers today, it was just given that we all knew like 1-60 and the teacher started from there up!

No English is allowed in class or any other language for that matter, other than French. None. (That’s where the ‘knowing the basics’ comes in. If you didn’t, you would be SO lost!) I like it so far. It wasn’t too taxing today - i.e. I don’t have a headache ;-) Ask me again at the end of Week 1!

So no school tomorrow – it’s a national holiday and school (and EVERYTHING else in France) is closed. Seriously. I was here one other time with Bryan and we only had one day here and we didn't realize it was a national holiday. We joked how “France was closed” for the day because absolutely nothing was open – we couldn’t even find a bathroom – ha! Not sure what I’ll do – I considered going to Belgium (seriously - it's only an hour away by TGV), but opted instead to use those funds to book a trip to Geneva, Switzerland for this coming weekend instead (more on that later). So I guess tomorrow I’ll just wander around taking photos.

Ok, well that’s the scoop on school. I came back to the apartment after class and ate lunch while I wrote this (a nice sandwich I made on a fresh baguette I picked up at the market on the way home). But now, it's time to go out and do some more exploring :-)

p.s. For those of you who are wondering.... I was NOT late to class this morning :-) However, I do admit that I arrived at EXACTLY 9am. Need to try and not cut it so close from now on - he,he!

Click here to view all of today's photos (11/10/08)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Soooo...see any potential with any of your classmates???? ;-)