Thursday, 25 October 2012

Questions an Australian gets in the French classroom

Some of you might not know this, but I came to France as an English Teaching Assistant. This means that I help students from ages 11-15 in two colleges with their English pronunciation and grammar while at the same time sharing the Australian culture and way of life.

From the minute I started teaching, I've felt like a celebrity. Anytime I'm in class or walking down the corridor, the students stare at me and shout 'hellos', totally mesmerised that I'm this new person who speaks English. And once they find out I come all the way from Australia, a very far distant land, their minds are blown.

Being a few weeks into teaching now, the students have asked me every question under the sun. Some of my personal favourites are:

"Do you have a kangaroo as a pet?"
"Did you bring a kangaroo with you?"
"Are there lots of kangaroos everywhere in Australia? On the street jumping around?"
"Why is your name the name of a supermarket?"
"Do you have a man?"
"Does Santa Claus in Australia wear shorts instead of pants because it's too hot?"

and one other really astute observation:

"It's summer in Australia during Christmas? Where's the Christmas magic?"

It's safe to say that in the minds of French kids, Australians can be described in three simple words: kangaroos, hot and beach.

And when they asked me what comes to mind when I think of France, I replied, "snails, frogs legs and the Eiffel Tower." They all laughed!

What questions have you faced as foreigners in another country? I'd really like to read them in the comments below!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The time I went to McDonald's in Paris

After a long 24 hour flight from Australia to Paris and having been awake for 36 hours straight, all I wanted was a shower and sleep. As it was only 3pm Paris time, I had a shower, settled in and chanted the words "I can't believe I'm in Paris!" over and over until I got hungry. So, what other solution was there but to go to the most culinarily refined restaurant one could find in France... where else but McDonald's?

In my sleepy state, I wandered into a McDonald's that was a few minutes walk from my hostel and looked at the menu. Moving from the Big Mac, to BEER (what?!), I finally saw what I wanted...

... And then my delirious mind started freaking out:
How do I say "McChicken?" Do I say it in my English accent or do I say it in a French accent and feel like a total idiot when it's an English word and I can say it perfectly fine with my English accent? DILEMMA! 
I eventually decided that I should say it the "French way" and failed horribly because I had no idea how to say it in the French accent. After giving me a quick strange look, the cashier was nice enough not to laugh in my face and continued to take my order as if nothing had happened.

Not only had I failed to order properly, but as I went to leave, I encountered a 'pseudo step.' You know those steps that are so tiny you don't really see them, but they're big enough so if you don't see them you'll trip. Guess what I did?

I tripped and fell flat on my face in the middle of McDonald's. I got up as quickly as I could, looked around to see if anyone had seen me and got out of there as quickly as humanly possible.

What a great first introduction to France!

Have any of you had a similar experience? Let me know in the comments below!


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