Robert Sawyers ’21 shares his first impressions of Tours, where the group will spend the next couple of weeks living with host families.
Two days ago marked the beginning of our time in the French city, Tours. After eating our final breakfast in Paris, we packed our suitcases and rode the bus to the train station, where we were freely allowed to explore in order to find some lunch before boarding the train. With a variety of small restaurants, including boulangeries, a sushi shop, a Starbucks, and some convenience stores, we split up into little groups and dispersed about the train station for an hour and a half before meeting up to board the train. Loading our suitcases onto the train and finding our seats, the train rolled out of the station and we headed off to Tours.
Arriving at the train station in Tours, we met our guide, Odile. Odile, a close friend of Madame Nichols, guided us through the busy people in the train station, and soon we entered the grand lobby where our host families were excited and eager to greet us. Hesitant but prepared for a new experience, we anxiously departed with our respective families. Since Monday, June 10, was a holiday in France, we had an extra day to get to know our families and immerse ourselves into French culture.
Today, June 11, was the beginning of the three weeks of our time in Tours. With class starting at nine a.m., we diligently gathered outside of the English-Sur-Loire building, eagerly waiting to meet our teachers and learn the fascinating history about Tours. When entering the classroom, we were presented our first task – a quiz. Wonderful! We just finished exams, and now we have another test… they never told us about that! The quiz was composed of fifteen short sentences in English, and we were tasked with translating each sentence into French.
After completing the quiz, we were split into two groups and headed off to our separate classrooms to begin our first French class. With class ending at 12 p.m., we walked to a creperie to eat lunch. Most of us ordered either a burger or a galette (a crepe with buckwheat instead of regular wheat), and then a dessert crepe. After lunch, we explored the city of Tours, seeing different monuments and the “vieille ville” – a small square of old fashioned buildings and now, some boulangeries and other restaurants providing places for people to dine throughout the day. Getting comfortable with the city, by the end, we were able to navigate our way through the complicated streets. Apart from the light rain, it was a wonderful beginning to our future adventures in Tours and our home stay.