Thursday, 11 September 2014

The road to Perpignan

 Hello! Salut! Hola!

 Welcome to my new blog! I really hope you enjoy it.

 I want to begin by letting you know how I first got into languages, why I chose to apply to ben English Language Assistant, and why I chose Perpignan.

 My parents speak several languages between them and both worked in Germany when they were younger, so languages have always been respected and promoted in my home. As a kid I was encouraged to watch French videos and listen to French music. At school my brother and I attended various French clubs.

 At high school I really enjoyed French and Spanish but felt my future was in sciences, not languages. I had a loose idea that I would study some form of science at university, possibly genetics, a field that really fascinates me.

 However, at sixth-form college everything changed. I chose to study a combination of sciences and languages and while I enjoyed the sciences very much, it was French and Spanish for which I felt a new passion. The teachers were wonderful and there were many extra-curricular activities to further fuel my interest.

 I think the deciding moment was when I went on a trip to the south of France with my sixth-form. We visited Montpellier, Carcassonne, Arles and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. I fell in love with the countryside, the cities and just the vibe and the way of life.

 I realised then that I had to make French a part of my life - I had to keep speaking and studying it, I loved it so much.

 Another thing that happened at sixth-form was that I started studying Mandarin Chinese in my free time (which ultimately lead to me visiting Beijing!)

 The language came to me incredibly naturally - I felt totally at home speaking it, as though I'd spoken it in another life. I'd learn a new word and it would make perfect sense although I couldn't explain why. I even wrote a poem about this phenomenon (click to enlarge).

 I was so intrigued by the diversity and beauty of languages that I knew it was what I wanted to study at university. 

 I was thrilled to get into Manchester Uni to study an IPML (Integrated Professional Masters in Languages) in French and Spanish with some Catalan, and I have had two good years there. 

 This third year I have to spend abroad, and I decided to be an English Language Assistant as I like teaching and want to inspire students to continue learning languages after school. I applied and was delighted to get the job. 

 I was even more delighted to get it in Perpignan, a city I had asked for as I wanted to practise my Catalan and Perpignan is full of Catalan culture, as well as being a beautiful and historic city. 

 The fact that it is very close to the Spanish border is also useful as it means I can travel to Spain from time to time to practise my Spanish as well.

 Finally, there is the fact that I love Languedoc-Roussillon, the region in which Perpignan is located along with Montpellier and Carcassonne. I love the peach trees and the golden fields and the erratic weather. I love the mishmash of cultures: French, Catalan, Spanish and many others - the cities attract students and immigrants from all over the world. 

 I cannot wait to reach Perpignan and discover a new part of this incredible region.

 So, off I go at the end of this month. I will keep you updated on my journey which I hope you will enjoy sharing with me.

 Thanks for reading,

 All the best,

 Liz x


  1. I love the poem. I meet words that feel like that in Czech....

    1. Thank you, I'm so glad you like it and can empathise with it. It's nice to know someone else has that feeling with new words as well.