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Journals from AUCP - Marseille, France

2014-02-04 Classes in French!

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A delicious raspberry tart :)

This last week was my first week of classes. Oh My God! You thought lecture classes were hard in English? Well, they are twice as hard in French and you have to concentrate every second or you might miss an important definition that is bound to be on your final.  That fear aside, the first week of classes went remarkably well.  I understand a lot more of the French than I thought I would and it really isn’t all that different than school in the United States.  I am taking the following classes:

-Linguistic Strategies

-Cultural Patterns

-Arabic (yikes!)

-Understanding Islam

-Political Developments in the Middle East and North Africa

The first three courses are required for all students who go to Marseille and the last two were my choices.  I could have also chosen a class called France and North Africa but I preferred the other two.  Arabic is my hardest class hands down, because first of all I am learning Arabic in French and second of all it is a very difficult language to speak.  There are sounds that exist in Arabic that don’t exist in English or French so they are new for me and hard to pronounce correctly.  All of my professors are really nice and supportive.  They also pause to make sure we understand or ask if we have questions which makes everyone feel more at ease.

I have two language partners (usually it's only one) whom I meet with once a week to speak both English and French.  Both of my partners are really nice and I love going out for a coffee with them each week to talk about our lives.

On Saturday morning I went to the big market with my host mom and sister.  It was absolutely crazy!  You could not imagine the colors everywhere and the bustling of people.  Everything is bought and sold there-clothes, books, phone covers, shoes, and food!  All sorts of food everywhere that you can smell in the air as you walk by.  People yell at you to come look at their stand and everyone is rushing around, so it’s hard to know where you’re going.  It would have been very overwhelming if I had been on my own but with my family I felt very secure and able to explore without worry.  I can’t wait to go back and give it a try myself.

Well, that’s all for this week.  Next weekend I am going on another school visit that I look forward to updating you all on.


-Lauren Orr

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