Thus far, our classes haven’t been too challenging. In the beginning, the main difficulty was comprehension, but we are able to understand almost everything now. Back home, our teachers only spoke French, but here the teachers speak much faster and with a slight southern accent, so it is much more difficult to keep up with them. Homework isn’t commonly given here, so after our 16 hours of class each week, we are free! Matthew and I both placed into the highest level of Low Intermediate, and in addition to our 12 hours of language class, we are taking 19th and 20th Century French literature and Translation from English to French as our electives. It is our first time taking lecture courses in French, but it hasn’t been too bad because both of our elective professors make sure that we understand everything before they move forward. Speaking in French has been the other challenge. Matthew and I haven’t been very disciplined in speaking French to each other, so we only speak French during class and when we go out and meet French people at the market and in shops. We are trying to talk only in French a few days a week, so I think that might help.
Our French professors are very unique and eccentric. Monsieur Charbonnier is a petit man who wears a different suit everyday…he speaks in a very stereotypical nasally French voice and is always perfectly groomed. Matthew and I have to keep ourselves from cracking up every time he says “voila.” Our other professor is the exact opposite…she comes to class with her hair all over the place and is extremely casual. Last Friday, she taught us a French drinking game called Buzz/Fizz (which I guess is an American game as well) and she made us play it for over an hour! One of our fellow students is an adult literature professor who graduated from Berkely for her undergraduate and Oxford for her doctorate. I can’t even imagine what she must have been thinking as we played this monotonous game!