Despite being certifiably fluent in French (as was the requirement for my masters program), the first days of school seemed such a language blur. My every day familiar language wasn’t enough.
Technical vocabulary aside, I could tell I’d lost some of my ability over the 8 months spent at home. It has come back to me over time, with hard work and lots of intense listening, leading me to the last week of lectures where I understood everything the teachers said. Well, almost everything.
When giving us details about one of our final exams, the head teacher explained that normalement (normally) we are allowed the use of documents for certain questions posed by different guest lecturers. To me, that left a certain amount of doubt about whether or not things would be the same this year.
After that we didn’t hear whether the test was open book or not, and so I studied everything.
Come test day, it was written on the exam which parts had authorized documents, and which hadn’t. A sense of relief poured over me. This test was going to go better than I had thought.
After the exam, I expressed my sense of joy at being able to use the materials from lecture to my fellow students.
I was the only one relieved, however.
To my French counterparts, the normalement wasn’t so ambiguous.
They expected to be able to use their documents.