I’ve just spend the first summer of my year abroad at a Chateau in Northern France, Pays de la Loire, about 2 hours away from Paris. The Chateau is a Summer School that organises an immersive French holiday for English school groups in term time and then in the holidays it turns into a ‘colonie’ for French children learning English.
View from my window at the Chateau
For me this could not have been a better introduction to my year abroad. At first I had fears about speaking too much English, or getting bored… being in the middle of nowhere – I’m quite a fidgety person, always needing something to do…
Chailland – Middle of Nowhere…
At the Chateau I mostly worked as an Activity Leader, being a tour guide for school groups on excursions and helping lead activities at the Chateau such as Aeroball, Team games, Nightline (my personal favourite – where you have to lead a group of blindfolded kids around an obstacle course and help their teachers throw water at them) and Initiative games.
I met some of the most amazing like-minded people at the Chateau, many of whom study languages like me and have already finished their year abroad and who gave me a lot of advice. So I made a set of rules for myself in order to make the most of my year and learn as much as possible:
- Live with native speakers
- Read in the language (books, newspapers) and listen to the radio/ watch television every day
- Join a sports club/gym to keep busy
- Never turn down an invitation