Impressions of my first term

So...13 weeks ago today I arrived in the south of France to begin this incredible journey of Erasmus. Now here I am writing my last blog of this year and only 3 weeks away from going home for Christmas (which will only be my 2nd time leaving Montpellier)!! To say it’s been insane and gone far too quick would be serious understatements. Everything’s changed since week one! For one I was completely on my own for the first few days and now I’ve met and made friends with about 100 new people from all over the Planet...everywhere from France, to Germany, to Thailand, to Chile!!!

The French language is still a slight grey area for all of us (annoyingly)...but I’ve definitely noticed that it’s improved a lot since I’ve been here. Listening to the Lecturers has become almost second nature in that I understand the vast majority of what they’re saying now...and reading all the notes in French is very easy. Speaking French is still a bit difficult but, like I said, getting easier and easier every day. I’m now in the thick of project and study season in college so there’s lots of work to be done which is only serving to continue improving my French.

This particular week for example is the hardest we’ve had all semester...8am til 8pm classes 4 days this week, on top of 2 presentations and a 10 page written report all due by the end of the week. It’s all being piled on but as I’ve said before all of the French students are more than willing to help the rest of us Internationals, making it all far easier and less pressured!

As this is my last blog I have to say to anyone reading it, thinking about whether or not to go on Erasmus; if you have the option: TAKE IT!
There are so many reasons to study abroad. The obvious one being to improve a second language. On that one I’d recommend going for a full year abroad as, like I said, 3 months has not been nearly enough to get to a level of French that I want...ie as near as makes no difference to fluency. I’m going to be relying on the next 8-or-so months to improve to a much higher level.
However studying is such a minimal reason to go on Erasmus...

Yes, teachers, guidance counsellors etc will all say that’s the most important thing but no: in my personal opinion the whole experience of the thing is the most important thing! Meeting people from all over the world, experiencing new ways of life and cultures in a different country, learning about all walks of life in other far-off countries...THAT’S what’s important! In second semester we’ll be getting a whole rake of new people coming into the course that I cannot wait to meet because that’s been the highlight of the year so far for me: meeting new people!!! (But don’t forget that a certain amount of school work DOES actually have to be done eventually).

Like I said, I’m now only 3 or so weeks away from going home for Christmas, and I don’t actually know how I feel about the whole thing if I’m honest! My dad leaving, as I said in earlier blogs, in August was extremely hard, and then my mum and sister visiting and leaving again in October...I’m dreading having to leave in January. The first times were bad enough! The idea that I’ll only be on HOLIDAY in Dublin and I’ll then be going HOME to the South of France is a bizarre concept altogether!

That said I do, obviously, miss my family...my parents, sister, grandparents, my dog, and all of my friends. But again, with technology like FaceTime and Skype it’s not like I haven’t (technically) seen anyone for 3 months because I have. I will have a lot to catch them all up on though and I don’t think the 2 weeks I’ll be home will be nearly enough to tell them about it all! I don’t actually think I could put into words the incredible experience semester 1 has proved to be...it’s just as well then that I’ve taken so many pictures! A select few of which I’ve sent in with this blog which I think, very briefly, sum up the kind of...well...FUN I’ve been having here in Montpellier over the last 13 months (even if it is suddenly freezing cold and I’m sick for the first time in 4 months with the flu)!

Anyway, I suppose that’s about it from me!
Thank you all for reading these blogs over the last few months...I hope they’ve been enjoyable and given you all a good insight into the life of a Dublin student on Erasmus.

Merci à vous tous et joyeux Noël !!

Date of post: 
Sunday, December 1, 2013