Can’t compare

21 days and counting. I have been in France for 3 weeks now and I still get mixed feelings about it.

It is impossible to compare this with my year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Before I left Brazil, I actually thought this would be easier than going abroad two and a half years ago.  This is not as intense, it is just a lot harder and different. When I first went to the United States, I already knew enough english to get around; I could communicate with others and express myself however I wanted to. Now, in Bordeaux, I can barely introduce myself in french and carrying a conversation is out of the question. The fact that I haven’t learned a language since Middle School doesn’t help either, I learned english and spanish as I was growing up, and later it was just a matter of improving those skills.

French is what I came here to learn, so I’ll work on it, I’m not scared. When I first arrived in Bordeaux, I took tests and had interviews that measured my ability to write, read, listen and speak the language. I got placed on the second level for beginners, which isn’t bad, considering I’ve only had one semester of french. So I am right where I should be.

  • Post’s Photo: My first essay in french. Embarrassing? Maybe, but definitely memorable.
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55 thoughts on “Can’t compare

  1. Boa sorte aí Marcos! Sei que você irá ter muito sucessos. Abraços, Alfredo.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Its lovely.

  3. Anonymous says:

    haha me lembro o mesmo sentimentos as primeras semanas no Brasil – bon courage! bisous

  4. oops – honey that was me!

  5. Anonymous says:

    APROVEITE MUITO, daí volte pra mim!!
    a ruivinha meia brasileira da sua vida

  6. Scott / host dad #1 says:

    Keep on dreaming and living life. While you are still young you have no fear and that is the way to experience the fullness of it all. I so admire your spirit and willingness to try stuff – now even vegetables. I am so happy that your travels have been and are everything you want them to be. We can’t wait until you come back state side, but love the journey you are living!

  7. i know the feeling! living in colombia for five months having had absolutely NO spanish education was tough because I had so much to tell but so little means to tell it. But every situation has its negatives and positives depending on how you look at it, and not knowing the language put me out of my comfort zone for the better – when you are left with no options, you are forced to act.

  8. Hi Marcos, Hang in there. Best way to learn……sink or swim. I came here speaking absolutely no french and wow, here I am. Will I master the language? No, absolutely not, but every day it gets better. Bonne journée et Bon courage!

  9. It is hard moving to a country where communication is difficult. Hang in there, if you want to communicate, you will. And you’ll have a super time doing it in Bordeaux too!

  10. tracilee says:

    Good luck on your new adventures Marcos. I’ve heard that when you start dreaming in another language (French), you’ll know you’ve made it!

  11. Best of luck learning French! It was my hardest language to be sure.

  12. Erica says:

    Keep at it! I spent two months in France and loved it. Learned a lot of French, and though I still have a lot to learn, by the time I left I could carry on a decent conversation with totally non-English speakers. Thanks for the like on my blog post!

  13. I am also a beginning student of French! J’ai petit un chaton noir nommé Otto. Je pratique mon Français quand j’ai le temps! 🙂

  14. kmpinkel says:

    I’d like to meet your crazy dog, Jorge!

  15. says:

    Il faut persévérer, courage 😉

  16. HI Marcos !
    Good luck with my language !!! 😀
    I know it’s not an easy one (especially the writing).
    Have fun … Bordeaux is a beautiful city.

  17. I have tried to master French for years. No luck. My cat says that I am stupide.

  18. One step at a time, Marcos. I shared my own difficulty in learning a foreign language (Spanish) even after decades of study (and it is always harder as you get older) — sad, but true. Persevere and don’t give up! I haven’t.

  19. vstoddard says:

    What a fantastic adventure! You’ll learn by immersing yourself in the language and culture, and that is exactly what you’re doing. Lonely sometimes, I’m sure, but you will never regret this experience. As I am learning American Sign Language, I am challenged, but I am home. I admire your courage. Amusez-vous!

  20. mikkela says:

    Keep at it! Never lose your desire to learn about the world!

  21. nofootnotes says:

    Good luck! I did a French course in Bordeaux a couple of years ago and loved it there. We used to spend our evenings sitting by the Miroir d’eau (in summer, of course) and taking in the atmosphere.

  22. libertylifeandchocolate says:

    Good fortune with the French, at 66 my memory of defeat at the hands of sexy Miss Carlile the HS French teacher is still a burning moment in my mind. Revenge I learned Spanish with out the aid of the sexy teacher.

  23. onmygard says:

    A lot better than my 21st French Essay Marcos so well done.

  24. Best of luck Marcos.

    I spent 3 months in France way back (1966) and survived with just a smattering of French.
    Managed to use public transport, buy food and a beer.
    Lots of good things and people.
    A business trip but I enjoyed it thoroughly.
    Bordeaux for a week or so, very nice.

    regards, Ken.

  25. sued51 says:

    Knowing Spanish, you will pick it up quickly. They are similar enough that you will be able to guess at what some French words mean.

    HA HA…I did think the picture looked like a cat, but you wrote dog…it’s okay…you’ll get it.

    Good luck and Enjoy your time there!

  26. pochp says:

    I admire your guts and industry Marco. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get continued success in everything.

  27. mfnaughton says:

    Wishing you the best!

  28. Do you read my favorite author “Jorge Luis Borges?”

  29. Shawnta Yaws says:

    Wohh just what I was looking for, regards for putting up.

  30. Continue le francais! meme si les francais ne sont pas toujours sympa! Carry on, it is worth it!

    Enjoy Bordeaux and try to visit Toulouse my hometown!

  31. Kate says:

    What an adventure! Bonne chance!

  32. Good luck in your adventure in France
    Will follow

  33. good on you Marcos…see the world. continue…

  34. Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and not at all seem to get something done.

  35. excellent release, rattling advisory. I speculate why the different specialists of this sector do not remark this. You should prolong your writing. I am overconfident, you’ve a zealous readers’ location already!

  36. Hello colleagues, fastidious paragraph and pleasant arguments commented here, I am in fact enjoying by these.

  37. WestHieks says:

    Great adventure, nice photos

  38. SUIKITSPREK says:

    I think it’s awesome you wrote about your trip in French. I get a kick out of practicing my language skills whenever I can.

  39. Frerichetix says:

    Your posts have made me reflect on how I’ve been viewing the possibility of having to pack up and move to another state… a little scary but worth the risk. You actually moved to another continent! Follow your bliss!

  40. hscnswplp says:

    Keep the dreams alive!

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  42. Brilliant blog with tons of good energy. – happy trails…

  43. My pets blog says:

    HI! Thanks for the post. I’m also found of pets and I have a blog too (In french)!Come and read my posts. Bye Julie

  44. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the
    structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

  45. Thank you for taking us on your journey with you through these blog posts. I admire you! Keep up the good work, young man. 😀

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  47. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What host are you using?

  48. I am really happy for you that you share these experiences so fondly. ❤

  49. this Rotary fellowship(?) sounds amazing! did you do this in high school or college? because my university is giving us the opportunity to apply for the post-grad program.

  50. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

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