On July 28th last, I set off for St. Flannan’s College in Ennis for a 3-week intensive French Course. I was full of trepidation, as I had read the course programme and it sounded very strict. Parents were advised to say goodbye as soon as they left students to the Reception area and that is exactly what happened. However, I immediately met up with a guy my own age and we started chatting. We were encouraged straight away to converse in French and it’s amazing how quickly the few words came out!
We were introduced to our Leaders and shown our dormitories which were fine. I was sharing with a guy from Cork. I must admit, I missed my walkman—we were encouraged to leave walkman’s and reading material at home. Initially, I found all the rules rigid but I latched on fairly quickly. We were assessed on the day we arrived and put into classes accordingly. There were about 23 per class. We had a brilliant teacher named Sean. The classes started at 9:30 until 1p.m. with breaks in between at 10:30 and 11:45. Breakfast was from 9–9:30, lunch from 1–1:30, tea from 6–6:30. The food was plentiful and self-service. At meals, we were encouraged to mix and converse in French. Every Saturday, our tables were changed, so as to ensure new contact. After lunch, we had first activity which consisted of a number of choices which we selected during class. These were very enjoyable and included soccer, badminton, uni-hoc, rounders, etc. We had showers after the activities and then we had assembly from 6:30–7pm. We had Language Rich Activities after that which consisted of ice-breakers and generally increasing our French vocabulary. At around 9pm we had Activity Four which was the most social and fun activity—we had discos, shows, table quizzes, etc. I made a lot of friends there and found the time really flew by. I feel my vocabulary has increased in French (especially my grammar) and will always remember my stay at St. Flannan’s as unforgettable.
The course is quite expensive for 3 weeks at £475.00 but in my experience better than going to France, as supervision was strict and we had to speak French all the time.
Comán Duke Farrell