It been a good month since I arrived in Reims and I must say living with the Delcourt family has been great. Before I decided to study abroad in France, I wrote a few goals that I wanted to achieve whilst I was there, one of which was to stay with a host family, not only to augment my French speaking skills, but to gain insight into a typical day to day life for a French family, their customs and how these vary in the culture I grew up in.
I used a great host family agency called Welcome 2 France, whose staff helped me with my application and matching me with family. Within about a week I was matched with the Delcourt Family. My host mum is a elementary school teacher while my host dad works as a manger at a global packaging company. Together they have five lovely children under 10 years old. They also have an Au Pair student from Brazil with whom I live with on the 4th floor.
My first month with the family has definitely been interesting to say the least. My whole host family including the Au Pair student only speak French and little to no English, so communicating with them has been pretty difficult.
There are definitely perks for living with a host family. One has been getting the chance to speak French on regular basis because at school, most of my classes are in English so the only French I get to speak is in my two French Classes. Also sharing French meals with the family and learning how to make them has been amazing too. My host mum also went to pick me up from the train station and drove me home. There is also a great feeling knowing that on my first day there was a warm comfy bed awaiting me, food and other housing supplies that many of my other friends who opted to live in apartments didn’t have so readily upon arrival. Living with five children under 10 years old has been quite the adventure, learning French nursery rhymes, playing hairdresser and sometimes part big sister has been rewarding in many ways, especially given that the kids really motivate me to learn more French and have become my grammar police, correcting me when I don’t say something correctly in French. It also warms my heart when the kids run to me to give me a hug after a long day at school. Super priceless!
I would say one challenge I face sometimes is balancing my time with the family and my school work. It is so hard to say no to the kids when they want me to play with them or join them for supper when I know I have loads of school work to do. My French is also not so far advanced that I can measure whether or not the way I say no to them is to harsh or whether there is a better way to say it. So I wonder if they get upset with me when I tell them that I have school work to do.
I am looking forward to learning more from my host family in the next couple of months and creating more lovely memories.