Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of Lycée!!!

To my own amazement (and most likely yours as well), the first day at my lycée (aka. French high school) was really great!

Of course my opinion may change a little or perhaps drastically once I receive homework and my new friends have less time to socialize, but I talked with so many students who are friends with my host sister, and they were very nice!  I was able to ACTUALLY SPEAK FRENCH!  It seemed unreal how my voice slipped out simple French phrases which they understood.  Some students told me that they were impressed with my french, so it really made me feel confident.  My happiness exploded like fireworks when I knew I made connections with students who I will hopefully spend the entire year with.

I had the choice to either enroll in Première or Terminale (I will explain later) and with that, either in the category, L for literature, S for science, and ES for economics & social.  So with lots of time and consideration, I decided to take Première L (Literature), which is like grade 11 in Canada, but more focus in languages, philosophy and literature rather than science, math and economics.  In Canada, I took a science & math focused course load in grade 11, so the classes I will have here in France will be definitely different and new. 

If you don't know how the French academic grade/year system works, I will try to explain it here.  Kindergarten is called ècole maternelle, and children from age 3 to 5 can attend it.  It is optional, but most children take it.  After, it is elementary school which is called ècole élémentaire for children usually aged 6 to 10.  Collège is like middle school, for students aged 11 to 14, then lycée for 15 to 18.  It is mandatory for all youth to just attend élémentaire and collège, but of course most of the population take it all to continue their education to achieve their favourable future career.

There is a weird difference between the names of France and Canada's academic years.  For example, Canada's "grade 6" is equivalent to France's "sixieme", meaning '6th year'.  However, "grade 7" would be called "cinquième", meaning 5th year.  As we go higher in the grades, the Canadian names would simply go from 1 to 12 but for France specially from grade 6 to 11, will be named like a countdown; 6,5,4,3...  So that is why grade 11 is called premiere here, because it is the 'first year'.  And finally, grade 12 is uniquely called terminale

Another thing that really confused me at first was the term collège.  When I heard that there was a college also at my lycée, I thought there would be a lot of students who have graduated from terminale and continue their education through post-secondary... so basically lots of older people.  (For those in France, the term 'college' in Canada means a higher institution for students wanting to study general education like trades work... not middle school!)  So when I asked my host-mother what the average age of collège students were, I was so surprised when she said normally, "oh... around 11 to 14".  I even asked her again if that was normal, and she looked at me like if I was crazy.  (Like come on! It seemed unbelievable that there were younger children who were taking higher levels of education then me!)  And of course I finally realized that I was wrong when I saw tons of kids at my lycée today.  C'est ma vie.

So after all, I am taking: Français, Anglais, Histoire & Geographie, Latin, Espagnol (Spanish!), and some others that I can't even understand.  Today at school, all I did was attend the entire morning with my professeur principal understanding the rules regulations of the lycée, get to know my classmates who never changes through the entire year, attend English class which was of course really easy, then have free time from 15h till 18h (France uses the 24hr clock) at the school since there were no options that day. I would have had art plastiques, but just for today, I hung out with some of my classmates and they gave me a little tour within the school property.  (IT'S TRUE my Canadian friends! SCHOOL STARTS AT 8H AND ENDS AT 18H... so I finish by 6pm.)  It was a very long day!  So I have around 17 students in my class, and 2 of them are exchange students from Germany, the other from Mexico, all girls!  I am lucky to be in the same class as them, because I think we're the only exchangers in the entire lycée...

I hope everyone in Canada is doing well, and have a fantastic start of their academic year!
Pour le moment, bonne nuit!


ps: sorry! no photographs of the school or students within school property, because it is apparently against the law to take pictures of students there etc.  It's complicated!

pss: but... I went to the famous Bresse Monday Market in Louhans, and here are some pictures:

There were tons of different stands
Many people come from out of town to sell or buy products
Lots of interesting displays
Everything of course is sold in Euros
Famous Bresse Chickens ...notice their blue legs?

Lots of fresh and healthy looking vegetables and fruits!

No comments:

Post a Comment