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First day of school

I am writing all of this on Thursday afternoon, because I had very little time during the week.

Monday the 16th of January
So this was my first day of school at the public Lycée in Vienne. I had to wake up at 6:15, because my host mom and I had to fill out some papers before school started (at 8). I had the choice between German, Italian and Spanish and I, obviously, choose German. Then I also had the choice between art, music, Latin, beginner Italian and informatics. I wanted to take informatics, but in reality the only subject that I could take was Latin, because it was the only class that was not full.

First period, I had math. I understood quite a lot, because math is a universal language - the stuff that they are doing was very easy, I am pretty sure that in Austria we did the same thing in 8th grade. After math we had a weird lesson - it is called "accompaniment by the teacher", and we just took a personality quiz. It was quite strange. Then we had a 15 minute break and I spent it with a nice girl from my class, who I believe is a little of an outsider.

Then we had German and English and I found out how the French teach languages. It is much different then Austria, and in my opinion much worse. My classmates have been learning German for 5 years or so, and they are at a A2 level. It is very passive and the teachers have a very strong French accent - which rubs off on the students.

Then I had a 1 1/2 hour lunch break, which I spent with a big group of girls from my class. To be honest, I didn't feel like I was integrating much. I was trying to take part in their conversation and ask questions, but they were not reciprocating and I felt like they were excluding me. Anyway, there are 2 places you can eat on campus. The first is called the "self" and you can buy a sandwich, wrap, drinks,... The second is the canteen, and you have to reserve a place before 10 to eat here. Here, you get to eat an entree, main dish, yogurt/cheese and a fruit for 4 euros - I wasn't that hungry, but I wanted to stay with the group so I ate at the canteen even though it would have made more sense to eat at the self, because it is much cheaper.

After the break, we had French which was pretty boring. I mean, I didn't understand everything, but the topic that we were talking about was pretty uninteresting. The teacher is very interesting, though. After every sentence, she takes a pause and opens her beady eyes wide as if waiting for the class to either applaud or finally understand everything - it is very amusing to watch, but I have a feeling that after a while it will become exhausting/annoying.

Right after French we had SES (Sciences Econimiques & Sociales) with another class and I sat between two talkers - the best place to be (it is hard to express sarcasm while writing). I couldn't concentrate on anything that was going on, and was feeling very tired and stressed and was getting very emotional, as I do in stressful situations, and felt like I needed to cry - I would not allow myself to cry on the first day of school, so I held it in until later.

As if school until 4 wasn't enough, I had another 1 1/2 hour of Physics-chemistry which was probably the hardest subject of the day, because we had to fill in a text about forces. And even though I knew most of the answers in English, because we had just done this at school, I had no idea what the French terms were, and I felt even more stressed out - I had tears in my eyes and nearly cried a few times, but I held it in. 

On the way out of school, I was actually feeling better because I walked out with a small group of girls who were very nice. My host mom picked me up from school with my host brother and I felt much better, more at ease. I told them about my day and sugarcoated it very much. We ate when we got home and I was overwhelmed by the need to cry so I had to excuse myself and went to my room and had a nice cry.

I was really doubting my ability to live in France for 6 months, most likely because my expectations for making friends was very high. I was expecting to leave school on the first day with tons of friends and having a great school and a great class. Most importantly, I expected it to be very easy, which is not the case. And because I am more on the introverted side, I can't just open up and say "Hey, we should be friends!" - probably also because my friends are so amazing in Austria and I guess my standards are very high. 

I skyped my Pops and talked with my mom, and that really helped. I was feeling pretty crappy that night and I probably cried for a good hour. My host mom also came in and comforted me, and I must say that I am very glad that they have hosted 4 students already, because she has already gone through this with the other exchange students and knows what to say/do. I was reassured that this happens to everyone and that I was not alone in France - since that night I really feel much more attached to my host family and am very excited to spend the next 6 months with them.

instagram: @amelia_navarre
facebook: Navarream


  1. We love you Amelia, sending you hugs!
    Very nice writing here - really authentic and engaging.


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