The first week of summer vacation and I’m already in beautiful Montpellier! The sun is shining, and the weather is nice. I’m in Montpellier for two weeks of French immersion at the French language school ILA.
Leaving from Belgium, I took the train down to Montpellier. I had looked forward to my French language stay in France since the day I booked my French Intensive course for adults. I had done everything for the preparation, including the French level test. I arrived a day in advance with my mom, so I had the chance to explore Montpellier and check out my French school, ILA, before the first day. We did a mini city trip and my mom eventually didn’t want to leave, this shows how beautiful and attractive Montpellier is. We saw all the picturesque little streets and the Mediterranean vibe was welcoming.
The first evening, there was also the 1/8-final of France against Argentina in the World Cup. This was expected to be an exciting match and it ended up being much more than that. Sitting on a terrace in between locals while France wins 4-3, is quite a unique experience. I couldn’t have imagined a better beginning to my French language stay in France.
After my mom hesitantly left, I checked into my student residence. The receptionist was very welcoming, and my room was perfect. I had a little kitchen as well as a private bathroom. My dreams were becoming reality.
The first day
On the first day we were expected at the school at 8.00 AM. So, this meant an early wake up. Nonetheless I was very excited to start my French Intensive course for adults. Upon arrival we were directed to one of the classrooms where we met fellow students. There was a lot of diversity in our class; Spanish, Turkish, German, Australian… We received a booklet and an explanation about the French immersion education that we would be receiving. They also gave lots of tips and advice to make the most out of our language stay in Montpellier.
After the informative lecture and our first French lessons we all received a tour of Montpellier. Our guide was one of the teachers and he was very interactive. He would ask questions and start little chats with us, just to get our French-motor working. We were free to explore on our own after the guided tour. This was an ideal moment to check out some of the beautiful parks and try an authentic baguette for lunch.
After a fulfilling and relaxing lunch, it was time to head back to the French school. The ILA French language school is located in one of the most vibrant shopping streets in Montpellier, so the walk was quite exciting. People were filling up the vibrant terraces and enjoying an apero. Others were buzzing in and out of shops and kids were eating ice cream.
During the first French lessons we immediately had lots of interactive activities and exercises. Our teacher wanted our class to be a little family. Sure enough, our class of ten became quite close. Our teacher also presented all of the extracurricular activities organized by the French school. For example, language exchange, bowling and even a boat party! This was quite exciting, and I started regretting that I had only booked for two weeks.
The evenings can be lonely, but luckily our student residence has a communal area where all the students can meet up. While watching the World Cup we ended up having a nice group chat. It’s really nice to enjoy the international atmosphere in the student residence. You end up meeting lots of other students who also chose to learn French in Montpellier. Together you can go out and explore the city together and enjoy excursions to the beach and so on. This gives you the opportunity to improve your French whilst also having lots of fun. But of course, you can’t forget to do your homework 😊.
My first impression of Montpellier was very striking, and I can’t wait for more! The city has an enjoyable chill Mediterranean vibe and the people are very accommodating. I’m convinced that my French language stay in Montpellier will be unforgettable and for sure not my last!
Arthur, Netherlands (ILA student)