Going to France... worth it because you will acquire something you cannot acquire elsewhere

Joycelyn , Ghana

My year abroad at the University of Nantes was undeniably a memorable one which gave me an exposure and more importantly led to a tremendous improvement of my French.  Before leaving to France, I had no confidence at all in the oral aspect. I hid from my French professors in the department for fear of being asked a question in French. Then finally, I had the chance to be in France..

The University of Nantes was well equipped so I had no excuse. Being placed in the C1 class in the first semester kicked me out of my comfort zone because I knew I had to work hard. I was the only black Ghanaian girl in the class but that didn’t intimidate me.  I took advantage of the libraries which were well stocked with books and materials for French learners.  I learnt my French on the streets listening to the conversation of other people and reading notices in French around. Internet connection was so easy to come by so I watched a lot of French movies, listened to French music and other resources online.

My vocabulary increased tremendously. At a time it got very frustrating because the native French in the various offices I went to, spoke the French too fast that I left an office crying one time that I couldn’t anymore and of course there was no one to interpret the French but with time, I picked up.  I made a lot of friends both at the university, the hostel, on the streets and at church. I got exposed to different cultures since there were students from different countries who had come to learn the French.  One exciting thing was that, I got the chance to travel to other countries I might never have travelled to like London and Germany as well as other places within France. I have established a lot of contacts in France and elsewhere which would play a role in future.  In addition to all these, I learnt to become more independent and live an economical life.

 My encouragement to all incoming year abroad students is that, never look down upon yourself. You can speak good French with determination and focus. Going to France though difficult at present is worth it because you will acquire something you cannot acquire elsewhere.

                                                                                              Joycelyn ARMAH.