Katie's Prep for Parentis (Bordeaux)

Katie's Prep for Parentis (Bordeaux) Teach/Learn by duane.schoon

This article was written by Katie Sawyer, published on 6th September 2011 and has been read 3254 times.

With a little over 2 weeks to go before I jump feet-first into the biggest adventure of my life so far, I’ve decided to take advantage of a rainy afternoon and start writing my blog…Well, after baking cakes, spending an unnecessary amount of time on Facebook and every other form of procrastination that, as a student, I have managed to perfect.  

I guess the first thing I should do, really, is introduce myself to any of you lovely TYA-ers who may be reading my blog. My name’s Katie, I’m currently studying English with French at Nottingham Trent University and I’ll be spending my 3rd year as a language assistant for the British Council at a Lycée-Collège in Parentis-en-Born, a small town just south of Bordeaux.


Some of you are probably wondering what on Earth possessed me to want to be an assistant, especially in a secondary school, rather than go to French University. Well, to put it simply, I feel that, for me, the assistantship would have been more worthwhile. I’m considering teaching as a career, and this way, I get to experience what it’s really like for the majority of an academic year; and what’s more, I get a year off from exams! WAHOO! I’ve been pretty lucky with it all so far, too. Bordeaux was my first choice, as was teaching secondary level. Also, I’m from the Midlands, so I’ve been really hoping to be placed by the sea. Parentis-en-Born – for those of you who aren’t too sure – is one town away from the coast, with a Parc National on one side, and a lac on the other. Lucky me!

So what have I been doing to prepare myself for this mahoosive leap into The Unknown? Well, I’ve booked my flight – 24th September, from Liverpool direct to Bordeaux with EasyJet, 20kg standard allowance? Yes please! I’ve also managed to make contact with another English Language Assistant who will be in the same town, which has definitely helped to relax my nerves. We’re currently spending a majority of our free time sending messages to one another, trying to find somewhere to live. Of course, this means that I am currently living in a permanent state of panic as my leaving draws closer and the search for a place to call home seems more and more hopeless. Everywhere is either unfurnished or only has one bedroom…It’s becoming a nightmare!


Naturally, I’ve had a lot of incredibly boring things to sort out too, such as finding out what options are available for my phone – I have a 24month contract, so have decided to try out a Euro Booster. I’ve also set up an international account with my bank rather than setting up a French account, so I guess I’ll see how that pans out. There have been several forms to fill out too, like a translation of my birth certificate and a translation of a letter of guarantee for rent. But hopefully all of this tedious work will pay off once I arrive en France.


Whilst preparing for my year abroad, I’ve learnt that it’s perfectly normal to feel absolutely terrified about what lies ahead. Some of my friends have just landed in their new countries, and I think we all have that same mixture of apprehension and excitement, with a slight twinge of sadness for what we’ve had to leave behind. I think that the hardest thing for me – aside from squashing my life into one suitcase – will be saying “À bientôt!” to my family and my boyfriend. I know that I’m going to miss them so, so much, but I’m coming home for Christmas and that’s not really that far away. I also leave my weekend job of three years this Saturday, which will definitely be emotional!


So all-in-all, I guess I’d say that I believe that all this panic, anticipation and emotional au revoir’s will be worthwhile considering that this coming year is supposed to be the time of my life…And I can’t wait!

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