Monday, 2 June 2014

A day in the life of a GapBreaker in France!

PROJECT: Language and tutoring English
WRITTEN BY: Pheobe Laing

It's been about one and a half weeks since Jaymee and I went to our host families, and we've both been really enjoying ourselves. I'm in a town called Gujan-Mestras, right by the Bassin d'Arcachon in the south of France, which is a bit of a tourist haven in summer but right now isn't too busy. I was impressed by how green it all was, but it now makes sense seeing as you can pretty much guarantee the weather every day - sunny in the morning and raining in the afternoon!

Obviously I was a bit nervous about meeting my host family, but they're all really lovely. My host parents and the two kids (Gillian, 14, and Loan, 11) live in the main house while I have a room in the granny flat next door with my host father's mother. Every weekend we go down to the Pyrenées because the family is building a house down there - so far I've helped make four bedside tables and four beds, although occasionally I needed a bit of help myself! There's still snow on the top of the mountains, but all the trees have begun to flower and there's lots of wildlife around. The best part was the first day, when we were eating lunch outside, we were actually looking out over Spain, which wasn't that special for them but was pretty exciting for me!

During the week my host parents work and the kids go to school from 8:30 to 4:00 or 5:00. I usually go running along the lake in the morning, then help with the housework and maybe swim in the pool if it's warm enough. Everyday my host parents come back and eat lunch, which is pretty typical here, and no meal is a proper meal without bread! In the afternoon the kids come home and we do some English lessons (we also talk in English sometimes, which is great because when I teach them English words they teach me the French version). Gillian is pretty advanced and often needs help with grammar that even I find tricky sometimes, but Loan is only just started, so we've done the alphabet, time and body parts. In the evenings we often go out and ride around - I haven't done so much rollerskating for a long time!

Jaymee's host mother is an English teacher, so she goes into school with her everyday and helps out with her English lessons, which she says she's been really enjoying. I went to school once with Gillian, and went to a few English classes where I got quizzed by the kids about Australia - every single person I met asked me if I'd ever seen a kangaroo! It's been a really great experience so far and I'm sure it'll continue to be over the next four weeks.

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