“Overwhelming, shocking, sickening and still best month and a half “

On 3rd September 2018, I arrived in Paris together with three friends who study law with me in Bern; this to start our semester in Paris. It was comforting to know that we were in the same situation and that there would be someone to talk to. We came half a week before the start of our “integration week” so that we could get to know the city and its surroundings that would be our home for the next 5 months. At this time, we were still surprised how well we could understand the French language but mostly how well the French people understood us. That would change shortly after. Continue reading ““Overwhelming, shocking, sickening and still best month and a half “”

Familiarizing the unfamilliar

During the first weeks in Bordeaux google maps was my best friend. Without it I would have found neither my way to university nor to the next supermarket. Google maps would guide me home after a night out in a bar or after the visit to a museum. Only little by little did I learn which route I could take to get somewhere. It was particularly challenging to gain orientation for travels by bike, since there are lots of one-way roads in the historical center of Bordeaux as a result of the narrowness of the streets. A route, that takes you somewhere, is therefore never the one that takes you back home. Unless you like to ride on the sidewalk, which you do not, because it is bumpy and small. Continue reading “Familiarizing the unfamilliar”

The French cannot teach – a blinded idea of a Swiss teacher or reality?

When I decided to study abroad I imagined there would be a lot of hurdles in my new life. Some were obvious, like the language barrier. Others were unpredictable. In the following reflection about an aspect of life I will talk about the most striking and unforeseen obstacle I have came along so far here in Nice: The French school system. The reason why this is so I will explain to you now. I am a keen teacher who is following a teacher education that is orientated towards competence. This means that the development of the individual pupil is a particular focus of teaching. In other words, the pupils are meant to be active during the lessons, not the teacher. The teacher has to give responsibility to them, let them make their own discovery of knowledge in a playful way . The slogan “let the pupils discover the world” summarizes the whole philosophy of the new Swiss syllabus (LP21). Continue reading “The French cannot teach – a blinded idea of a Swiss teacher or reality?”

How I got Less Punctual

One Saturday evening at the beginning of my stay abroad I was invited to a soirée (party) of the volleyball-team of which I’m a part of in Bordeaux. I was told the party would start at 20:30. I did not want to be too early so I arrived there at 21:15 o’clock. But when I rang the doorbell no one opened the door. After some minutes some other people entered the building, so I was able to go inside. I looked for the apartment of the host of the party. Behind one door I heard music playing so I knocked the door. But it was a birthday party of a girl and not the one I was looking for. They were very friendly and invited me to join them. After checking out the whole building I decided to accept the invitation rather than to go home. About an hour later some other guys who were looking for the party of the volleyball team knocked at the same door as well because they couldn’t find our soirée. I joined them and a few minutes later we finally found the place. I had knocked at this very door an hour ago. I was told that the host was sleeping at that moment. 45 minutes after his party should have begun. Continue reading “How I got Less Punctual”

Academic life in Aix-en-Provence

I started my semester here in Aix en Provence in September. I hadn’t really used my French language skills since my time in High School, besides from some encounters in Switzerland and abroad with the French language. I was able to understand the most and have simple conversations. But I never encountered the French language in an academic environment at a university. So when I came here it was a bit challenging for me. In the beginning of my semester abroad in Aix en Provence I had a lot of issues about university. I was thinking: How can I do this? Will I be able to get used to all of this?

Continue reading “Academic life in Aix-en-Provence”

How to Learn French and German

The most difficult thing when communicating in a foreign language is talking (listening to a native speaker can also be hard, but even if you don’t understand every word, you will catch what is important). You are making mistakes and you have an accent. When I’m supposed to talk to someone in French, I often feel very uncomfortable. The reason why I feel uncomfortable is not just that I know that I make mistakes, but also that I don’t know how many and what kind of mistakes (did I just use a wrong preposition or did I conjugate a verb incorrectly?). One easy way to cope with this is to stop talking when I don’t know how to finish the sentence and instead to signal with my hands that the other person is supposed to tell me how I can finish the sentence. This sounds quite easy, but it’s not: I think the French don’t understand my waving and they seem to be confused about it. So I have to finish my sentence and I have to look for another strategy. The strategy I’m pursuing now is a bit problematic, because it’s prejudicial to learning French: I just let the other person talk, ask some questions, but try not to talk much.

Continue reading “How to Learn French and German”

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