Welcome to my first ever blog, which I have created in order to be able to share the adventures of my year abroad in France with my family, friends and other budding linguists. Over the course of the year I hope to shed some light on the daunting but incredible opportunity of living and working in a foreign country; offering some advice on how to find a placement in France, how to get organised before the big move, and how to settle in to your new home. There will also be more personal entries, as I plan on sharing with you the challenges I face as I move in to a flat a couple of streets away from the Louvre museum and begin work in an entirely French-speaking office on the Champs-Elysées. This week’s entry is a little bit about me and how I came to be studying French at the University of Leeds. So please, sit back and enjoy the read.

As a lover of all things stationery and organisation, I used to (and still do) spend more time planning and preparing revision material than actually learning it. Throughout my GCSEs and A Levels, French was always my favourite subject to revise – think flashcards for vocabulary, mind maps for every topic and colour-coordinated conjugation tables for all of the most important verbs – and therefore when the time came to begin the UCAS process my decision had already been made.

I had briefly considered studying Law but I could not imagine giving up French, and as my heart was already set on Leeds (which offers Law with French Law, rather than Law and French) I chose to apply for Single Honours BA French. My decision was confirmed after I spent a week studying the language on a residential course at Villiers Park, which is very much like a taster for University as the students stay in on-site accommodation and attend lectures and seminars, where we read Molière and Voltaire and analysed films such as À bout de souffle.

Another clincher for choosing French at University was the opportunity to spend the third year of the course in a francophone country, either teaching English for the British Council, studying in a French University, or working as a stagiaire. The countless personal statement drafts and hours of A Level revision were slightly sweetened by the thought that not only was I soon going to be moving to one of the best cities (for what shaped up to be two fantastic years of University), but then I would be jetting off to France for a year…

With only a week to go until I make the move to Paris it suddenly feels very real. My mum booked herself a return Eurostar ticket and a one-way ticket for me, and as I begin to list the things I need to organise and the things I need to pack before we leave the nerves are kicking in!

Next week I will share details about where I will be working for my year abroad, with some advice on how to find yourself a French placement.

Thanks for reading!
Grosses bises,

Hannah x x


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