AN INCREDIBLY WARM WELCOME IN FRANCE

AN INCREDIBLY WARM WELCOME IN FRANCE

Von Greta Korper

A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves. (Marcel Proust)
I took the plane to Nice, France and was delighted by the weather, when I got off the aircraft on February 8th 2020. The temperature of about 20 degrees, the sunshine and the light breeze made me feel welcome from the very beginning. The taxi driver who waited for me at the airport with a warm smile and brought me straight to the hotel added to the positive start of my stay.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. (Marcel Proust)
I addition to this, my exchange partner Coralie Bonnin made my arrival in Antibes, where my host school Audiberti is located, fabulous. She picked me up at the train station on Sunday. Then she showed me around town. Finally, we ended up in her lovely house in the mountains, where she kindly offered me a cup of tea and some typical French biscuits. Food simply always makes one feel comfortable.

When you work to please others you can’t succeed, but the things you do to satisfy yourself stand a chance of catching someone’s interest. (Marcel Proust)
When observing and participating in classes, I realized how important genuine motivation for learning is. I was welcomed with open arms by the majority of the pupils. Students of the high school “Audiberti” showed a genuine interest in my person and were very curious to get to know me. They were very motivated to use another language to communicate with a stranger, which made me feel less foreign and very welcome. They saw my reallife experience and interest in foreign cultures and were immediately ready to mirror it.

We love only what we do not wholly possess. (Marcel Proust)
I was very fascinated by the openness my French colleagues showed, when I arrived at their school. I was never considered an outsider or a burden. Everyone was willing to help me and to discuss various matters such as the reformation of the final exams, the level of their students, or their teaching methods with me. In addition, I was always welcome to join every lesson. Numerous teachers also spontaneously offered me to join their classes. I had the pleasure to meet a very open-minded and interested community. As I don’t have a full picture of the system and all personalities yet, the school seems incredibly attractive to me.

Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us. (Marcel Proust)
Within the course of my stay and the many conversations I had, I realized that my warm welcome was somehow linked to my attitude towards France and the people. I have so far in my life only met extraordinarily friendly French citizens and could always count on their support. However, whenever I discuss the behavior of this people with locals or foreigners, they often paint a totally different picture. So, I perceive them as especially positive to a certain extent, because this is what I expect. This shows the importance of the idea of Erasmus, to create a space for cultural encounters and exchanges, which is more up to date than ever before.

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