AUCP students have a lot in common. Whether they’re studying in Aix or in Marseille, they share a passion for all things French, a commitment to go the extra mile to reach French fluency, the desire to become part of the local community and to create lasting friendships in France, they come from top American universities and are often among the brightest in their class.
And while they share a lot, each one is unique. Today, we’d like you to meet Meghan. This is the first of an on-going series on Le Blog designed to introduce you to current AUCP students, and to show you how, despite their many similarities, they each have their own unique way of living with and like the French at the AUCP.
Meghan comes to the AUCP Aix-en-Provence as a French major from Ursinus College. She’s been studying French since she was twelve years old. She loves dogs, plays piano, and has an older brother and a younger sister. She is the President of the Cercle Français, a French club back home at Ursinus. They search out cultural activities, watch French movies and as she said, ‘we do a lot of cooking’.
Bonjour Meghan! For starters, can you tell us a little bit about your language partners?
« Bonjour! My language partners’ are Laureline and Marjorie. They’re both students in Aix; Laureline studies law and Marjorie is studying management. We meet up at least once a week, either to eat dinner together, go to the movies or get coffee. We talk a lot about life in Aix and differences in French and American culture, but for now we’re still getting to know each other. With Marjorie, we speak more in French whereas Laureline and I speak more often in English. Her English is so good though, I was impressed! It’s great having two language partners, because someone is always available. »
What are you doing for your community service?
« I just started yesterday, but I have two hours a week at the Ecole Saint Catherine, which is not far from the AUCP. I help the teacher out with the kids in maternelle grande section, which is the equivalent of Kindergarten in the US. We did an art project with the kids. One of the little boys has an English father, so he thinks he speaks English…but not quite. He’s very cute, but I don’t think he really speaks English at all! »
Can you tell us a little bit about your host family?
« I live with Martine and Philippe. They’re super nice! They have two sons who live in Paris now, and they’re really excited about their first grandchild, who will be born soon. They live a bit farther from the center of town, but they have a pool, which makes up for it. It was pretty hot this month, so the pool was a welcome experience. This last weekend, they took me to a town on the Mediterranean Sea, and we took a ferry boat to an nearby island, Porquerolles. It’s pronounced « pork-a-roll »… 🙂 We rented bikes to ride around the island on what Philippe claimed was a ‘short, easy bike ride.’ What we actually did was ride up and down 12 kilometers of rocky hills. Clearly, my 61 year old host father is in way better shape than me – it’s like he’s never tired! The views were amazing though. Philippe plays piano, like me, and so its nice to be able to talk about that and play together. »
What is your favorite class so far?
« My favorite class has to be the French – English Translation class. It’s almost therapeutic, to think about the two languages and how best to go from one to the other. And, it’s a great way to learn a lot of words, because we’re always using the dictionary. »
What club or personal interest activity did you choose?
« I tried out a yoga class, and really liked it, but then I found a local Zumba class which is a bit more active and energetic. I’m not very good at it yet, I feel like it requires serious coordination but I’ll get there eventually. I felt a little out of place at first, especially because the French girls doing the class were all so stylish! I usually go to the gym in an old tshirt, and here everyone was in real workout clothes. It seems that the French really do put much more of an effort into the way they look, in all situations, even while working out. But, I’m excited to continue the class. There are at least three classes a week, so it’s easy to find one that fits into my schedule. »
How would you sum up your first month here at the AUCP?
« I’ve spent way too much time at the boulangerie. On my way to class, I walk by at least three different boulangeries, and the pains au chocolats are so good…it’s just hard to resist. It’s a good thing I’m doing Zumba every week to make up for it! Also, Pax, the little black dog that spends his days at the AUCP with one of the staff members, is adorable…my sister back home is so jealous, she told me that I should dognap him and take him back home with me at the end of the semester! Other than that, it’s just been a great adventure -and I love that! »
If you want to keep up with Meghan and learn more about what she’s up to during her semester in Aix, check out her blog, Aix Marks the Spot! Check back soon to meet more of our Fall semester students.