I wanted to spend a month but couldn't swing it. So I boarded a flight from New York City to Nice, France, and enrolled in a French total-immersion school in Hyeres (ELFCA), two hours south of Nice, for two weeks.
I entered speaking like a one-year old and left speaking like I was two. Still, it was an unforgettable and life-changing experience. I discovered it's an ideal way to travel, particularly if you're single. I stayed with a host family who spoke a bit of English. The writer in me would have gone mad if I couldn't have had my incessant questions answered. I felt safe and decidedly un-touristy.
Having to be at the school by 9 a.m. roused me out of bed every day and made me feel productive. A robust 20 minute walk to school burned off the calories of the delicious food I was gorging on (I never gained a pound). I had afternoons and evenings free. The school planned plenty of activities off-campus. There were always people who spoke English even though most of the students were from non-English speaking countries.
Best of all, it inspired a novel. It has yet to be published but writing this blog has me yearning to excavate it from my hard drive and revisit that magical time in the South of France. Next stop: Spain to learn Spanish.
Causes Jo Maeder Supports