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My visit with Emilie and her family and her family started with a warm welcome at the train station from Emilie, David and Myrtille. Aristide was living away from home during my stay.

The very same afternoon that I arrived, I was treated to a traditional French guinguette at the country home of one Emilie ‘s friends. A small band played folk songs and a variety of other genres. It was an afternoon full of music, dancing, laughter and food ! I was thrilled to have this experience !

I chose Emilie’s immersion stay specifically because her home is in the countryside . I also chose not to rent a car. These decisions were made deliberately to help me keep focused on studying.

Our more formal morning classes as well as conversations during family meals and our various excursions benefited my comprehension of French, particularly my listening comprehension.

My time with Emilie was far from constant work !! Emilie invited me to accompany her doing errands, shopping at the weekly Saturday market where she introduced me to friends, to buy bread on Mondays at a nearby château and to her weekly Gaïa yoga class. We had a lovely day together in Lourdes where we visited the famous sanctuary dedicated to St. Bernadette and rode on the funicular to the Pic du Jer. Also, we spent a delightful afternoon listening to a story teller telling stories in French to children of asylum seekers.

For me, daily and repeated exposure to same situations and words during the thrEe weeks of my stay was key to improving. While I am still a long way from bilingual, this experience with Emilie has helped me move closer to that goal !

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