Week 3 at the Institut de Touraine has finally brought everyone back into a more normal schedule; I was actually surprised this past Monday when I got there and there was a giant crowd of new students waiting to be assigned classes. After one particularly weird day when classes started at two in the afternoon, I’m back to their normal four-week progression of the course until I leave. I liked my professor last week better than my professors this week, I think, but time will tell. We started class on Monday with an unusual icebreaker—we each had to pick an object that meant a lot to us and then introduce ourselves as the object. Definitely a good exercise in French and helped me get to know my classmates better than the classic “Notre Dame Introduction” (name, major, hometown) would.
Surprisingly, I think the hardest thing about speaking French here is trying to get my fellow American students to practice it with me. They’ll often switch to English when there aren’t any non-English-speakers around. Fortunately I have a friend from Notre Dame here now who’s just as eager to practice her French as I am, and one of my new friends from my classes is getting comfortable enough with the language that he’s starting to use it in everyday conversations with me. I also occasionally have to act as an interpreter for another student who’s just arrived to stay with my host mom, if he doesn’t understand a French word she’s trying to use or she doesn’t understand an English word he’s trying to use. Considering that’s the type of career I’m looking at, I admit I get a little thrill whenever that happens.
It’s been a pretty quiet week. I couldn’t keep reading Les Misérables because someone checked it out, but I’m hoping I can read at least a little more in the upcoming weeks. I’ve been wanting to read that for so long. This upcoming weekend I’m going to see the actual Notre Dame in Paris! I’m really excited. Stay posted, I’ll probably talk about it a lot next week.