By Tanya Kovatchka
Tanya is an A-Level student and contributing writer for KCW Today
Doing a residential course at a language school abroad is one of the best ways to improve fluency and gain confidence. This was my exact motivation for travelling to Nice and doing a course with Azurlingua for with a looming French A level, I was in desperate need of assistance.
Language courses can be a little intimidating. A language school is still essentially a school and so you face the same issues and anxieties as when moving to a new secondary school. On the first day you frantically scrabble to make friends, any friends and the second source of unease are the tests done to assess your language level. This stress is amplified by the fact you are thrown into a completely different environment and you feel like you can’t communicate. Except, after the first day, the first morning even, the environment is already becoming familiar, suddenly you’ve got new friends and slowly but surely, you’re talking to people in a foreign language. All anxiety seems to melt away especially when you’re staring at Nice’s beautiful blue sea.
The sea is undoubtedly one the biggest tourist attractions of the region due to the guarantee of lazy sun tanning leisure but Nice not only offers that but a world of culture yet to be explored. It is a city full of vitality, as vibrant as the warm colours of the buildings located in Old Nice. Old Nice quickly became my favourite part of the city and I would return to it day after day keen to exhaust every corner.
It is like a maze of narrow streets, reminiscent of those in Italy, full of the most charming restaurants and shops. The streets twist and intertwine meaning one can spend hours getting lost, exploring what these delightful tiny shops have to offer including precious stone jewellery, homeopathic remedies, handmade soaps and almost everything in between. Even just walking idlily with an ice cream in hand you are mesmerised by the old buildings of tiny, tangled streets. One simply has to first choose which of the 94 flavours of ice cream available at Fennochio’s in the Place Rossetti to try.
As well as Old Nice the other place I consistently returned to was the Promenade des Anglaise as it was just 15 minutes away from my accommodation. One of Nice’s highlights, there was nothing lovelier than taking a leisurely stroll as the sun set and the streets started to empty. After that you could go to the Place Massena where in the evening small statues on columns representing the seven continents are beautifully illuminated in different colours and the large statue of Apollo stands proudly above a fountain.
If sculpture and art is what you want to see the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MOMAC) is the place to go It is three levels of thought provoking art that houses works from American greats such as Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder. Resident pieces include some of Niki de Saint Phalle’s colourful nanas as well as the work of Yves Klein who pushed painting and what you painted with; he preferred fire and nude models who he affectionately named his ‘live paint brushes’. I hadn’t actually planned on visiting the MOMAC, but my new Swiss friends persuaded me, and I subsequently fell in love with it, a feeling they too experienced as I in turn coerced them into visiting the Matisse Museum and the Marc Chagall Museum. There was this constant exchange of recommendations of places to visit amongst all the students at the school and despite different classes we were assigned to and our different nationalities we ended up exploring the city together going to tiny vintage shops and cafes which served the most delicious brownies and pastries.
We were advised to stock up on some of these pastries and bring them with us for us day trip to the pricey Monaco which was just a short train journey away. The day trips and free tour of Nice are some of the best things that Azurlingua offers. As an avid lover of history, I was delighted to meet a tour guide that was equally passionate. She explained everything in French, so I felt that I was consistently learning and she helpfully slipped in an English phrase or two whenever a look of total confusion appeared on my face. Even after the tour officially ended she was happy to sit with us in the sun and just chat in French imparting her wisdom about French life and her experience of other French cities.
The trip wasn’t like any I had been on before. It was pretty perfect actually because there’s nothing more satisfying than meeting new and exciting people, visiting picturesque places and improving a language just in time for an exam.
ESL Language Travel
Unit 1 Ground Floor Pride Court
80-82 White Lion Street
London, N1 9PF
Tel: 020 7451 0943