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English Speakers in Bordeaux

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Since today is January 1st I thought i'd dedicate this post to my new friends of the new year. My apartment has become the United Nations lately, with all of the different nationalities coming together to hang out. There's really nothing like it, and let me tell you after a few drinks it's probably the most entertaining thing ever. Alcohol can really help when there is a lack of vocabulary, but it's the openness and great personalities of my new friends that make it work the way it does.

américaine girl
Christmas Soirée 2013
All I prayed for before moving here is that I would have just one girlfriend, "just one and I'll feel okay" (I must have said this line 100 times). I was actually terrified at the thought of coming to France only knowing Mathieu. Let's be honest, two people around each other day and night can be exhausting. Being that I only knew 'merci, oui, and bonjour,' before arriving, I had no idea how I'd find someone who I could really become close with. Bordeaux isn't exactly the city of English. Bilingual in this city just means they can help you choose your wine and find your way to the nearest toilette. Anywho, after 30 seconds of arriving at school my prayers were answered. 

Alliance Francaise isn't a great school in my opinion. Actually, not whatsoever, but if its done anything for me its brought me close to two girls who have made my time here exactly how I hoped it would be. The classes are really small, but you are mixed with any and every nationality, and there's constantly new people each month. Kerri and Nicole have been with me since the beginning. Thankfully they were just as bad at French as I was. 
américaine girl
Class party at Alliance Française October, 2013
Nicole is here from New Zealand playing water polo for Bordeaux, and Kerri is an American who is an au pair for by far the cutest little French girl I have ever seen. They have the two most complete opposite personalities, and I lie right in the middle. Kerri is my free-spirited, timid photographer who looks at the world in a different way and Nicole is the out-going, energetic, and highly organized teacher. We're all so appreciative that we have each other that it makes being friends so much more meaningful. I'm such a sappy Sally right now but I really love the hell out of them.

américaine girl

I searched and searched blogs and clubs and what not to find a way to make friends here. It was actually kind of pathetic now that I look back on it, but I was in a state of panic. There is a USA-Bordeaux Association. I gave it a try, and went to their Thursday night meetings, but I had no luck. I can see how older men and women can find friends there but for someone my age it's like finding a friend at a retirement home. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt that maybe it was just a night where not very many younger members went. 

Anyone who is looking to make friends who speak English, get yourself into a class where they are learning French, it's just that simple. There will always be an English-speaker, and because people are just as eager as you to make friends, you just become close regardless. I got even luckier, especially because Nicole has many close girlfriends on her water polo team now. Through her I now am close with a girl from Greece, another from Hungary, and one from France as well. They even had their first Thanksgiving with me! Also after 3 months of class, communicating with the other's who don't speak English in my class is so much easier. We go out together, we don't understand everything, but it's such a different kind of fun. 
américaine girl
Thanksgiving 2013
I think people who are willing to up and move to another country, even if it's just for a short time, have a certain mentality. They are curious, they want to see how others live, maybe even try to live the way they do. Maybe it's why making friends really isn't that hard, because in the end, we all want to feel at home away from home. So my biggest advice is don't fret. Don't sweat making new friends in another country, it will happen no matter where you go.

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