Finian’s First Impressions of France

Hi, my name is Finian McCoy and I am currently one week into my four-week French learning course where I will experience French High School.


After arriving at Toulouse airport with my friend Nick, we took a train to the nearby city of Albi where we were collected by Nicks family. They then brought me to my family’s lovely home overlooking the town of Saint-Affrique. The family immediately showed me around and made me feel at home.

View from the family’s house


During that weekend I did many interesting things with the family. On Saturday morning Antonin, the fourteen-year-old boy in the family, and I cycled down to the town. I managed to see the towns cathedral, the main road and I found out where the boarding school was located. Later that day we went to the local cinema to watch a movie, although I didn’t understand some parts as it was all in French, it was still very enjoyable! The following day was the 11th of November, marking the one-hundred-year anniversary of the First World War, which is a huge part of Frances history. We attended a commemoration ceremony taking place in the town square, where Elien, the ten-year-old in the family, had a reading in front of the town. Directly after we headed to the town hall for some food and drink.

World War 1 commemoration
Fire station in Saint-Affrique

After the commemoration I visited the local fire station where the father works. It was a great experience learning about the life of a fireman and I got to see all of their equipment and vehicles, I even went down the fireman’s pole in the station. While here I learnt plenty of new unusual French vocabulary.


On Monday morning, after a great weekend with the family I was back with my friend Nick, and we were introduced to our new class in the school, who are very friendly and helpful. They find my French accent extremely funny,especially when I try say their names, but I’m sure my accent will be far better by the end of my four weeks. Throughout the week we took part in loads of sports such as archery, rugby and badminton. That evening was our first night in the boarding school. I’ve never stayed in a boarding school before so it was a new experience for me. All of the students here were very welcoming and also very interested in what our life in Ireland was like in comparison to here in France.

Our new French class

I have to say that I my French has already improved greatly, and that it has been an amazing experience so far.

Finian McCoy


Finian McCoy