it must be nice

This is Nice, France. Looks pretty nice, no? Well, I certainly think so. In fact, it’s what’s been getting me through my long grammar-filled days lately.

Let me explain.

Some language departments at FSI arrange two-week immersion trips for their students. A bunch of my A-100 colleagues who are a few months into their Spanish training are actually off studying in Buenos Aires at this very moment. (Life is rough, eh?)

The French department doesn’t arrange any such trips, but they will allow me to go on one provided I work out the details myself. And pay for it. And convince them it’ll help me. (Read: Complete lots of paperwork. This is the government, after all.)

There are also some other bureaucratic… challenges. (Andy refers to these as bureaucratic nightmares, but I’m working on this whole diplomacy thing.)

Because my French has to be at a certain level before I apply, and because I must apply a certain amount of time before my trip, and because my trip must be a certain length, and because I must return to FSI for a certain amount of time before my final French exam, well, by my calculations, there’s a narrow window of somewhere in the vicinity of a few hours that I’ll actually be eligible to apply. Hmm. And that’s assuming I remain on track.

But no worries. I’m convinced to make it work.

I have to. I need something to look forward to. Focusing on French every day without an end in sight is tiring. Barring an emergency, I can’t take any vacation time during my training. And this immersion trip — because I would be learning and studying after all — wouldn’t count as a vacation. Not that it would be like a vacation. I would be in class as many hours as I would be at FSI. Maybe more. And then, of course, I’d have to use my French the rest of the day too.

It wouldn’t be easy, but it’d be a nice change of pace, and I really do think it would help.

If I am lucky enough to get to do an immersion trip, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in Nice, and maybe in the end it wouldn’t be. There are immersion programs pretty much everywhere French is spoken: Senegal, Morocco, Monaco, Guadeloupe, Belgium, Switzerland, elsewhere in France… But, thus far, price and reputation make the Nice program the front-runner. (And yes, I realize that late fall isn’t exactly perfect timing to visit the south of France, but you take what you can get.)

Andy plans to come too. So who wants Abbey for two weeks in early November? Don’t all volunteer at once.

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9 Responses to it must be nice

  1. Jeanne says:

    I’ll watch her in Nice.

  2. Kamilla says:

    If I get into the October A-100 class (fingers tightly crossed), I would love to take care of Abbey for a few weeks! So keep me in your prayers 🙂

  3. Emily H says:

    I think you mean bureaucratic ‘opportunities’ 😉

    I did French immersion in Nice for 2 weeks junior year. It’s a great city, and I think immersion is really important in learning a language. I hope it works out! Do you have a school selected? I can’t remember the name of the one I went to, but I can find out. It was home stay placement plus classes.

    Or, come to Beirut. We speak French. And Arabic. And English. It’s a three-fer!

  4. Eve says:

    We are trying to cobble a trip to Portugal together also. I feel much the same, it’s a beacon of hope and promise. Also we spent a couple if weeks in Paris last November and it was perfect. No crowds, the people were lovely. Although a little chilly, off season is the time to go. I really hope it comes together for you two. And if we weren’t planning to ditch around the same time we would take abbey. Maybe she could whip our goons into shape. Good luck

  5. Sam says:

    What in the world? You would have to pay for the immersion trip yourself?

    That sounds nuts!

    Why would anyone opt to do that?

    What other language departments sponsor nice trips like the Spanish department?

  6. Alex says:

    Mom — Nice try.

    Kamilla — Bonne chance!

    Emily — I’ll email you with the details. I’m definitely interested in hearing about your immersion experience too!

    Eve — Ohhh… Portugal. Sounds lovely! Hope it works out for you guys too!

    Sam — I should clarify. The Spanish department doesn’t pay for immersion trips either; they just do all the logistical legwork and arrange group trips. All FSI students have to pay for international immersion trips (I’ve heard rumors that there are some domestic trips that are free, but I don’t know that for sure); however, you’re still a working employee collecting salary while you’re doing an immersion. Seems like a fair arrangement to me.

  7. David L. says:

    Here is a very not cool one: Arabic students get to go Dearborn, Mich., if they so choose and are willing to pay for it. But hey, I hear the dollar has a lot of buying power up there.

  8. Andy says:

    David – I’d love a trip to Dearborn. It would be like a homecoming! But France would be ok too.

  9. Bridget says:

    ooh, Nice would be lovely.
    If Dearborn is seriously one of the options, why doesn’t everyone just come to NYC??

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