Ruth’s stay at Françoise’s home in Mérindol, Provence.
Our student Ruth has written an article to share her experience of her immersion stay in Provence.
Apprehensive as she was before any trip, here’s how her stay went and how her apprehensions disappeared!
When I decided to do this immersion experience, I had a lot of questions: What are the teachers like? Will I just memorize word lists and verb conjugations? Will I only write dictations? Will my teacher treat me like an idiot when I make mistakes? What will the family be like? Will they feel obliged to talk to me? What does “30 minutes for breakfast, an hour for lunch” mean? After that, I can’t stay at the table? And most importantly: what will the kitchen be like?
I don’t know what other teachers or families are like, but I’ve come across a wonderful family with a fantastic teacher. During lessons there’s always something interesting to read, listen to or watch on TV. And there are discussions that make me think. Françoise, the teacher, is strict and demanded a lot from me. At the same time, she’s patient and never says I’m stupid! She encourages me to talk, to use new expressions, to push myself. She gives me homework that I don’t like to do, but that I’m glad I’ve done. And there’s always time for a cup of coffee and a chat.
And the family is really nice. They ask me questions, they listen to me, they tell me things. They never look at the clock and say, “It’s been an hour! Our obligation is over!” When you’re invited to a party or to visit relatives, I’m invited too. Françoise is a great cook, even though she says she doesn’t like to cook.
I’m off on an afternoon excursion with Françoise. There’s a lot to see and do in this beautiful region, and she knows it well. She takes me to picturesque little villages, ochre mines, markets and gorges. Even when we’re not driving, we can walk in the garrigue, the Luberon forest which is right next to the house. But I’m also allowed to rest whenever I want.
I’m lucky to have had such a wonderful experience. I learned a lot, saw new places, and met some great people – all despite the Mistral wind that brought rain and cold winds for most of my stay.