BIARRITZ, FRANCE: GOING IMMERSION
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
If you don't have Biarritz, France on your bucket list, it's time to add it.
Biarritz, is a coastal town located on the south west of France. It is about 40 minutes from the border of Spain.
Biarritz is covered in cobblestone roads, architectural wonders, and most importantly sun, sand, and the french language.
I chose Biarritz, because I wanted to have a French immersion experience, and Sofi64 offered just that. Sofi64 is a French language school offering courses for adults. The name Sofi64 stands for South West French Immersion school (in french West is Ouest), and the 64 is the first two numbers of the zip code for that province.
Sofi64 offers french classes with the opportunity to have yoga and surfing lessons after.
I chose the French and yoga combo, and had classes M-F from 9:30AM - 12:45PM and yoga 3 times a week in the afternoon. For this French program the school has a two week minimum costing 688 euro. I went for three weeks and paid about 1032 euro for the experience. This did not include flights, or my homestay which was 35 euro a night.
I arrived to Biarritz on a Sunday evening, with classes starting the next day. The options for going to and from school were to either; walk, bike, or take the bus. I rented a bike for the first two weeks, and did walking/bus combo for the last. Each of these was an amazing way to visit the city and travel around the surrounding towns of Anglet and Bayonne.
The first week was introductory, it was making friends, adjusting to the pace of life and paying close attention to words or sounds I recognized. My french family was amazing. They took me in and made me feel right home.
With the homestay cost breakfast and dinner were provided, giving the family and I an opportunity to share time together. My host mom spoke in French most of the time, and the few times she didn't was to translate a word or phrase for me. I wanted to understand everything!
In the second week, I was already talking, forming sentences, and saying a mix of Frenglish (French and English). To speed up the learning process, I signed up for the Sofi64 French intensive classes. This meant that I would be taking afternoon French courses at the school.
By the end of the third week, I was talking and writing in French!
Three weeks was a short time to dive into a language, but the immersion method truly worked for me.
THIS HELPED ME LEARN FRENCH
Choosing immersion: Having my french mom constantly talking to me in french and teaching me things made a world of a difference. Merci Anne, vous êtes incroyable!
Getting out: I went grocery shopping, to restaurants and bars where my options were to either speak in french, or not at all.
Having a structure: Going to classes every day helped me know what to expect. I knew what my day would look like, and this gave me peace of mind that every day I was going to continue to learn. Plus, these classmates became friends and people who I could explore this beautiful town with.
Riding my bike: Every morning I would bike ride to the school, which was about two miles with hills. This was an environmentally friendly choice that boosted up my endorphins and gave me the freedom to travel in the city on my own.
If you have the urge to learn french or visit France, I highly recommend you go to Biarritz. It was an amazing stay.