First off, I'd like to apologize for not updating sooner. I'd intended to write up a summary of our travel day the day after we arrived, but things have been a little busy with settling in, testing, classes, a host family meeting, etc. Sorry! That aside, below you'll find a recap of our travel day and then a quick update on what we've been up to the past couple days.
After meeting up with a couple stagiaires in Indianapolis, it was off to Chicago to meet up with the rest of the group and begin the long voyage to France. Before we hopped on the plane, however, we managed to get a group picture in with all of us wearing our dashing teal IUHPFL shirts:
After this, we boarded our plane and headed off, arriving in Paris around 8am. Although we all made it in one piece, three pieces of luggage were not so fortunate. Luckily, they have all since been located (two have arrived, the third is on its way!).
As you know, once we arrived in France, the stagiaire were no longer to allowed to use English (excpet for the phone call home, of course). As one might expect, the first couple hours were more or less quiet. In time, however, everyone was (and still is!) trying their best to communicate in the target language with an impressive level of success.
Following our arrival in Paris, we then hopped on a bus and set off to Saint-Brieuc. Given the fatigue of jetlag and the fact that we had been traveling all day, most everyone (including myself) took a moment for a little well-deserved shut-eye, which the picture below shows quite well:
(There are, of course, other gems like the one above. I'll provide the link to the pictures that don't appear in the blog at the end.)
Once we arrived in Saint-Brieuc, we had a bit of time, so, instead of sitting around, we decided to try and learn everyone's name. Since simply saying one's name isn't all that exciting, we decided to do this in the form of a game in which each person had to say their name and give a French adjective that started with the same letter. Before giving their own name, however, they had to repeat the name and adjective of everyone that went before, which became a bit tough after a couple minutes. Here are a couple pictures of us playing the game, followed by a group picture in front of the sign of the place where we waited for the families:
After a bit of time, the families began to arrive one by one and, after several warm welcomes and a couple awkward bises, each stagiaire set off to start exploring the intricacies of French culture.
Given the fact that we arrived Sunday night, it was decided that it would be better for the stagiaires to spend Monday with their host family and have a moment to recover before jumping in.
On Tuesday, however, we dove right in and passed the day taking the exam, reviewing details about the program, getting to know one another better, etc. One of the team-building games we played is known as the human knot. Below are some photos for your enjoyment.
Although we split the group in two in order to do this activity, we thought we'd give it a go with 33. Until we saw this:
Then we decided it might be best to call it a day.
Once all of that was finished, we went on a guided tour of Saint-Brieuc and learned a lot of neat things about both the city itself and the surrounding area.
The next day, Wednesday, we officially started classes! As you may recall, the stagiaires take four classes while here: communication, culture, grammar, and linguistics. Aside from being a normal class day, Wednesday is also our sports day. Although the rain usually limits the amount of outdoor sports we can do, we were fortunate enough yesterday to have some sun. To take full advantage of this, we took the stagiaires down to the nearby valley, where they had the choice to go for a jog on the trails or go for a nice stroll.
We also decided that it was a great location for a group photo!
Well, I do belive that's all for now. Everyone seems to be having a good time here and seems to be improving by the day! I can't wait to see the progress that everyone makes.
Tomorrow is our first excursion to Erquy and Fort-la-Latte, so you can expect the next blog update very soon.
À la prochaine,
p.s. Click here to see more pictures!