My name is Ava Fox, I am 18 and from Meath.
I study French because I love the culture and the people. For me, it isn’t just a school subject, so when I was given the opportunity to study in Biarritz, you could only imagine my happiness and excitement.
After a tiring journey, I was greeted by the balmy Biarritz summer air. In that moment, I knew I was about to experience two of the most unforgettable weeks of my life.
That little ‘je ne sais quoi’
When I arrived at the apartment, located in the centre of the town, I was overwhelmed. Not only was it a two minute walk from the beach, but the beauty of the town blended with the enthusiasm of my host mother Patou, was just surreal.
Madame Patou couldn’t have made me feel anymore at home and gave me a warm welcome, which completely calmed my nerves. The ice was broken over sharing a mutual love of cats, and Madame Patou asking if I would enjoy traditional French cooking. However, the most touching gesture Madame Patou made, was an offer to be my ‘maman française’. My new French mother told me that if I was upset, homesick or needed someone to talk to that she would always be there.
I was living with two other Irish students, who kindly showed me around the town. They quickly got me to grips with the different events that were coming up. Lucky for me, I had come to Biarritz at the perfect time of the year. I was just in time to celebrate the history of the city.
The festivals showcased the best of French culture. I experienced how the local people lived their lives, and got to immerse myself in French traditions and customs.
Improvements, transformations and travel
I attended the French school where I was enrolled. All the staff members were so helpful, they provided a map of Biarritz, some useful phrases and showed me the places where the activities would be held during the week.
Classes started at 9:30 and ended at 1:30. In the school, my French was rapidly improving with each passing day, as I continuously spoke French. I also noted that my accent had transformed because I was surrounded by native French speakers.
The school also offered plenty of extracurricular activities, such as taking trips to different cities and surfing. I ventured out on a day trip to the beautiful city of San Sebastián in Spain and hit the waves in Anglet.
Rolling with the waves
Biarritz and the neighbouring town Anglet, are the most popular places for surfing in France and are renowned for their spectacular beaches.
Every morning during the second week, I caught the bus to Anglet and spent the morning learning how to surf in the glistening, blue water. To be honest, I wasn’t the best at surfing but with the help of the instructors I managed to stand up a couple of times! I then passed my afternoons relaxing on the beach, swimming in the sea and exploring the town.
In the evening, all the students would get together to have fun and get to know each other. In Biarritz, I met some of the most amazing people from a variety of countries like America, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Brazil and many more. I didn’t forget the locals though and made some good French friends. A Spanish girl also came to stay during my second week and we quickly became the best of friends.
The experience taught me not only about the French culture, but about cultures from around the globe. I was able to make friends for life!
The two weeks I spent in Biarritz were two of the best weeks of my life. I made some amazing friends and memories. It was better than I could have ever imagined! I’d recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve their French and to experience the French culture!