Testing My Confidence

Fabien returned to the States on the 1st of January. Sad face. This means I had two solid days to prepare for my placement test at the University d’Orleans. So, like a good little student I reviewed by vocabulary, verbs, listened to a few ‘Coffee Break French’ podcasts and made a solid attempt to speak in french more. I wasn’t all that stressed because I was quite comfortable with what I knew and understood.

The other challenge of the day is that this would be my first time driving the manual car and finding the University on my own. Now, I admit that I got lost but eventually found my way to the Insitut d’Francais building. When I arrived I said “Je suis la pour la (and not ‘le’) test.” (I am here for the test). Mistake aside, I was understood and instructed to follow the professor to the testing room. When I took my seat, I noticed the other students had the same terrified look on their faces. The test was distributed and after my first review, I  thought,  am I in the french class?

I understood almost nothing in the grammar and listening section, but struggled and reasoned my way though. Next, I had to write 250 words (no, that is not a typo) on the things to do in my country. Thank God I live in the United States and not Liechtenstein. I put my best foot forward, but I’m sure the essay was riddled with mistakes. And finally, the oral test – a 15 minute dialogue with a professor.

She asked me questions about myself including where I had taken french and for how long. I answered, “Une annee a l’Alliance Francais a Detroit.” (1 year at the Alliance Francais in Detroit). She replied “1 annee ou 1 mois?” (One year or one month?) Did I stutter? Well, probably, but I clarified 1 year. Surely this was because she thought my french was so awful. The second part of the oral exam was all on my own. Fortunately, the day before I had just listened to a podcast on the very subject I was being quizzed on…what I do everyday. (In french) I explained what time I get up, what I eat for breakfast, the processing to getting ready, when I leave the house, what I do at work, what I do when I return home and when I go to bed. Again, I know I made a million mistakes and had a billion “um’s” and “uh’s”, but I’m pretty sure I got my point across. I left after 3 hours, totally exhausted and slightly demoralized.

I felt like I had failed big time and was certain that when I returned for the results on Friday, they would tell me I did not make the cut. So, for the next few days, I did nothing but worry and prepared myself to take the rejection like a big girl.

When D-day came, I arrived at school early so the instructors could tell me I would not be admitted while the other students were not there. The Prof advised me I was early and to have a seat in the class room. Well, this is just cruel, I thought. The least he could do was put me out of my misery now. I even sat next to the door so I could make a quick exit once I was asked to leave. After the other students arrived, my name was the first they called. The teacher handed me a letter that said “Accepted – Level 2”. Surely this was a mistake.

The building where all my classes are held at the Universite d’Orleans

So, I played along with their sick joke and after a couple hours of them explaining class structure (all in french) and understanding 1% of what they were saying, I was told “Bon week end” and “A lundi”. (Have a good weekend. See you Monday).