The first foreign language I studied was French which I learnt it
at secondary school between the ages of 11 and 18 (1981-1988). It was a
compulsory subject for the first three years and I chose to continue
studying it thereafter because I enjoyed it, found it interesting
and was quite good at it. Outside class I practiced my French by
listening to French language radio and reading French books.
My first visit to France was a school trip to St Omer way back
in 1981. Even though we were there for only a very brief time -
less than a day - it whetted my appetite for foreign travel. Since
then I've been on quite a few trips to France ranging in length from
a few days to several months.
Between school and university I spent three months working on
a couple of farms in southern France. This helped me to become
fairly fluent in French and to acquire a rich farming-related
My French has also been useful on holidays in Turkey, Sicily,
Morocco and Portugal. French is widely used as a second language
in Morocco and in the other countries quite a few people speak
French in places frequented by tourists.
In September 2009 I joined a French conversation group in Bangor
that meets once a week and have been going to it ever since. My
spoken French has improved a lot as a result.
I can still speak French fairly fluently and can also read it
fairly well. My written French is decidedly rusty though.