As a person who got CDD for their A Levels, I was apprehensive about learning French. I only ever got a C for my French GCSE and confidently told everyone at home that I spoke ‘schoolgirl French’. As for the team, it was clear that Jonny spoke the best French, while me, Tafadzwa and Caitlin only spoke a little. While I was excited about helping the community in Gif, I genuinely thought that I was not clever enough to pick up French.
Upon arrival, our speaking abilities soon became apparent. We all laughed together when Taff said ‘Merci beau cul’ instead of ‘merci beaucoup’ and Caitlin said ‘Jonny is difficult to eat’ instead of ‘Jonny is a picky eater’. Caitlin and I have a running joke of saying ‘Way way, mersay boocoop!’ to each other when we make a horrendous mistake in French. We had to learn French phrases that made no sense, for example ‘I have hunger’, or ‘I will be there at 18 o’clock’. Even saying ‘croissant’ with the wrong intonation is incorrect.
However learning French has helped us to help others. We have been teaching English to local French people, helping in the local care home and doing youth work; all of which includes using French.
In a sense, expecting to feel stupid helped me with the culture shock of learning a language. It meant I was overjoyed whenever I understood a joke or was able to help someone. A personal highlight for me was watching a whole French film without subtitles; something I would’ve thought was impossible two months ago. More and more often people complimented me on my French pronunciation. It is through God that my French improves every day, and through God that I can help the community in Gif.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
-That Esther can use her French to serve people in Gif
-That Action Teamers around the world can improve their language skills
– That the English clubs in Gif succeed
PS Team France’s next blog will be a Q&A! This means we will be answering any questions you have about our time in France. Please leave your questions in the comments below, or send a message on our team Instagram, @franceactionteam.