CESA Languages website
I wanted to work on my French after finishing University. Paris was the obvious choice for me, as I prefer cities to smaller towns, and commuting never bothered me, though I can see it might be an issue for some.
I expected the course to be hard work, and it was, but it wasn’t a struggle which is what I’d thought/feared, as the different language levels were carefully pitched. In fact I saw significant improvement by the end of the course (just made the C1 class before I left). I really liked the way the French school in Paris used authentic materials; newspaper articles etc rather than text books to base lessons upon. The classes were always pitched at adult learners and the teachers expected us to be motivated and get involved, which really suited me.
Once in Paris, I booked extra afternoon sessions, which worked well for me. I’d suggest students consider the Writing and Grammar class (sounds dull, but good revision) and the Culture and Civilization class (relaxed class but good for putting the language in to context). Each workshop only took up one afternoon a week – so didn’t impinge on exploring the city.
The school could not have been better located, easy to walk to many central places and easy metro access right by the school to get to the rest of the city. There’s a great outdoor courtyard just behind the school, great place to chill out in break time, or there was the common room for rainy days. As the school got busier as the year went on they could have done with more toilets in the school to cope with student numbers, but that’s my only gripe.
My host parents were about 30 minutes commute to the French school, gave me great food and were really kind. I really could come and go as I pleased. I know CESA said this would be the case, but I still half expected it to be like the French Exchange of my youth, where the hosts kept a beady eye on me at all times. They didn’t, they let me do my own thing, but one of them was generally on hand for a chat and I didn’t go hungry. I chose half-board, so I didn’t have to think about evening meals, which worked great for me. Some of my friends had gone for B&B with kitchen access which seemed a good plan if you were happy to cater for yourself, they were, but I’d have hated it.
Paris was incredible. Yes it’s not cheap although to be fair the metro is incredibly good value. There is so much to see and do! It was knackering to start with, doing all the tourist things, once life had developed into a pattern it was much easier. I found the Parisians were pretty friendly once they realised you were willing to make the effort.
I found the other students of the course very friendly. There was a real mixed bunch (loads of Europeans, some Americans, some Japanese).
I’d absolutely recommend Paris to other students but you have to be the sort of person who loves city life, or you’d be better off going somewhere smaller.
CESA Languages webpage
My expectations were met fully! There was a good variety of approaches with plenty of opportunities to speak. The right balance between “closed” and more “open” exercises. Some interesting and relevant material was used for example films and newspapers. My host family was perhaps the most successful aspect of the whole experience. A brilliant family who made me very welcome and took every opportunity to speak to me in French. They shared their family life with me, including me as one of the family and taking me to several outings. CESA were extremely helpful and efficient. I would definitely go back to Bordeaux again. My language course was a very worthwhile experience in every way, it proved far easier to become a pupil again than I had anticipated.
CESA Languages webpage
I hadn’t ever taken a course with a language school before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought perhaps it would be similar to my A level lessons, and in each lesson you would cover: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. My expectations were met, most of the teachers structured their lessons using the four different skills. Actually, the atmosphere in the school exceeded my expectations and I made a lot of friends there. I really enjoyed the French school in Bordeaux and its atmosphere, it was a great place to make friends and the majority of the teachers were approachable. The school is in the middle of Bordeaux golden triangle and you have easy access to the whole of the city. I had an excellent social life, the school had a team every week at the pub quiz on a Monday night and going out as a big group encouraged French speaking. I would go again, I think it is a very good course for beginners, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning a language.
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