Our stay was for six days, and each student lived with a French family, some along with friends and others alone. The first day, Sunday, which was the day we arrived, we were taken to our host family and had the rest of the day to get to know them. Some of us were lucky enough to be taken on our first Montpelliertour with our new families and started early on our French practice.
The next day, which was a Monday, we went to the French institute with our class as a whole. We met Mrs.Leila who would be our patient teacher for the remaining week. The institute was an old building which many of us agreed looked like Hogwarts. Its creaky doors and vintage furniture made the whole experience even more ‘French’. After a three hour lesson, we were free to eat lunch and officially begin our day touring. The lunch was free thanks to Mr.Rabi’s great care for us. After our lunch, which was consisted of a main dish, a dessert and a drink, we were taken to a tour with a French guide along with another group from Sweden. Our guide, Nicolá, took us to a tour around Montpellier while speaking French along the whole journey. We went to the cathedral of Montpellier and to the old alleys that were also present. We saw the building for the Montpellier Newspaper, the cinema, the town hall with its great fountain and many other historical monuments. Later on, we were free to decide what we wanted to do for the remaining day. Dinner was available with our families, yet some of us chose to eat at restaurants.
On Tuesday, we began the day once again at the institute having our daily three hour lesson. As a group we decided we’d pay for a visit at Aigues-Mortes, where we saw the town and visited Louis the XXIV’s castle. The tour was again with Nicolá. Up in the tower of Louis’castle, we had the whole of Aigues-Mortes at our feet. Before we proceeded to further activities with Nicolá, we were free for thirty minutes to go around the town. Later on, we went to the beach. There some of us played football whereas others took pictures, walked on the beach, and relaxed. We later on returned to Montpellier and once again were free for the afternoon to do as we wished.
On Wednesday, during the break in between our usual lessons, our class was separated into two groups: some of us wanted to go to Nîmes whereas others wanted to stay in Montpellier. We decided to go our own ways, resulting in five students going to Nîmes and the rest staying in Montpellier. The ones that went to Nîmes were again guided by Nicoláinside a bus full of active Italian students. We went to the garden of the Roman Emperor and later on to the Arena of Nîmes where we learned about the history of the gladiators and the slave pits where people battled to the death. When we returned, we were again given free time.
Recently a few students from IAS went to Montpellier, France along with our French teacher Mr.Rabi. Our aim was to practice French in the country it is natively spoken. On Thursday, unfortunately, the weather did not want to cooperate. Unlike the other days, it was not as sunny and warm. Usually Montpellier is known for its great weather, but we’re not sure what happened that day. Therefore, we decided as a group that we would stay in Montpellier and go shopping and visit all the areas we had missed.
On our last day, Friday, we finished our last lesson with Leila and got our certificates. It was a sentimental moment and we took pictures to remember this experience. It was a moment where we realized we actually had improved throughout this week of constant French-speaking. Then we decided to, once again, group up and visit a well known Montpellier mall called Odysseum. We stayed there for an hour and decided to surprise Mr Rabi for his hard work with a gift. The whole group practiced their French in the shops while in search for the gift and united as a class. When we returned, we were free to go our separate ways to say one last goodbye to Montpellier. Some of us returned home because we were tired, but others decided to celebrate their last night.
Lastly, Saturday was the day of our departure. We said goodbye to our host families and to the friends we had made. We met at the train station where our journey back home would begin with two train rides and an airplane flight awaiting us. We were all sad to say a final and official goodbye to this experience, and many of us decided that we’d like to return and bring friends with us. It was bizarre going back to school and facing the Polish weather. Yet we couldn't be ungrateful for all we were able to accomplish.