Tim is a native of Northern Ireland, but a few spins of life took him to Canada, where he has lived for the past 13 years. And precisely because of his arrival in New Brunswick, the only bilingual province in Canada, he saw the need to learn French, their second official language. The English was, of course, all good for him. But you might be wondering how he came to Montpellier if he could study in his new city. That’s what we’re going to tell you.
How did you get to IEF?
I’ve been going to Montpellier since 2006, even though I only have four years studying at IEF. Thanks to an alliance with another school in Canada, I knew about the institute; and I go back once a year. I like the atmosphere and its teachers; I think they have a remarkably high standard of teaching. In addition, their staff is attentive and always concerned. Laetitia and Eugenie, in the administration office, are very friendly and always find ways to help with anything you might need. Also, there are many different people who come to the school all the time, and I have the opportunity to meet many of them, so it is always rewarding to return.
Why do you return to Montpellier?
I like that the city is close to the sea, and the easy access to the beach is incredible. In addition, I enjoy the historic parts of the city; the whole area of Écusson is wonderful. I also like its people; I always leave friends there, so every time I return, I meet them to have a drink and catch up. I also like the fact that there are small villages nearby, so you can always go around and converse and share with local people.
Since you have the chance of studying the French language in your city, why do you prefer to travel every year?
Because it’s a way of doing different things that I just can´t do in my city. Every time I go to Montpellier, I find something new and that’s a good way to reinvent. For example, I enjoy music a lot, and in my village there are only a few musical activities that are organized. However, while in Montpellier I have the chance to attend a variety of live music concerts always with different rhythms. It is not only the study, but also the experiences that add so many other nuances, so I prefer to go abroad even when I could do it at home.
For you, what is the best thing about a language stay?
I think it is sharing with people from different places. I have learned a lot from people who are totally different from me, who have other points of view, and who are completely away from my daily life. It has given me personal enrichment beyond comparison. Having the opportunity to meet so many people and to keep in touch with them is great, and every time I have the opportunity to add more and more friends to my life.
Is there any particular anecdote about your IEF experience?
Yes, actually it is about one of my good friends. Carol, one of the IEF teachers, lived many years ago in my house in Belfast for some months; she came there because I was renting out a room for students. And my surprise was that when I arrived in Montpellier, I found her and since I return every year, I have the opportunity to share with her and her family. We get along very well and it is wonderful to have found her again after so many years and continue our friendship. These experiences always bring many meaningful people into your life and that’s amazing.