jeudi 19 décembre 2013

Passion: Learning French Before Going to Corsica

In Corsica, not many people speak English at all. People mostly speak French, Corsican and then Italian, the latter two are very similar though.I would see British people come to the island with no French at all and have a lot harder time getting through the streets, asking for accommodations or ordering food at a restaurant. Yes, they still see the beautiful streets and can bask in the sun but you might not get your favorite dish in a restaurant or miss your movie at the local theater.
Going on YouTube and searching for a couple beginner French lessons is an easy and free way to learn some Basic French which you will greatly appreciate before your journey to France or Corsica. You will be able to figure out many basic signs to get where you need to go, ask for help and buy things a lot less complicated if you speak some French.
France is known for not being very well in English, but Corsica is even worse than normal mainland France. Practically no one speaks English, if so, they speak British English and will not be able to understand the American/Canadian accent fluently.
When I first arrived in Corsica at the end of August in 2012 I didn't speak French really and had to go to the normal lycee with all the teenagers. It was hard to get around, to have conversations with everyone else, and I could not understand the T.V. nor the songs that came on. As my French became better and better doorways opened up one at a time. First I could read all the signs and get around easily, then I could talk and have conversations with everyone at school, making tons of friends. Finally I could understand all the French songs and T.V. which was a great feeling. Even though I live in California again, I use my French every day to talk to my friends and host family back in Corsica, speak to the Belgian and French exchange students and help them on their English and because French is very limited in my rural community, people always ask me to say words in French because it is a very exotic language in Northern California. 

mercredi 18 décembre 2013

SSR- Corsicans Wanting Independence

The year that I spent in Corsica I realized as the the year went on,  and my French became better,I saw all the headlines on the news, Corsica wants to be an independent nation. If I told people in my class that they were French they would be very offended and say "I am Corsican, not French."
When I read this article about how Corsica's are now wanting to be independent more than any other time in the last forty years, and it didn't surprise me at all.  There has been a start up of the Corsican mafia, assassinating political people from France and bombing the houses of the French. I, myself, never had a problem in Corsica because they love English speaking people and most importantly  I never talked about the mafia. No one talks of the mafia, we see it on the news but talking about that mafia is something we all just know, if you talk, the mafia might hear and find out. Tourists visiting Corsica will probably never have a problem with this.
Also, I believe that the Corsicans are now more than ever anti-French is because of the new president Francois Hollande. The hatred of Francois Hollande is very prominent in Corsica. They do not agree with his political actions or his party and wish that Nicholas Sarkozy, the precedent president, was still in office.
Corsica has their own traditional food, music, traditions and even a different language which is a lot like Italian. They are proud of their heritage and many think that if they have independence they will not have to conform to French ways and will be able to be the real Corsicans.
To go to the article click on:

mardi 17 décembre 2013

Poem about Corsica

Corsica, where green meets blue
Luscious mountains and turquoise water
Are both never out of view

Golden light coming through the glass
Bronzed and warm on the street
The smell of Chanel as the girls pass

I miss La Corse
Everything and everyone
I would miss it, of course!

vendredi 13 décembre 2013

How to greet people in Corsica video

So this video is how to greet people in Corsica, this is not for all of Europe or even France because some regions are different than others in their greetings.  In France and in Corsica we call the two kisses "let bisous". You can go to my video on YouTube called How to Greet People in Corsica and my user name is Hannah HagQuist.

La Ville d'Ajaccio

The first time I saw Ajaccio was on the airplane from Nice, my first day of exchange. Yellow pastel buildings, sparkling blue pools, and many palm tees surrounded by the turquoise Mediterranean and the lush green Corsican mountains. It was completely different from where I'm from, foggy Northern California and I loved it.
Ajaccio is the biggest city in Corsica with a population of about 60,000. Even though it is a small city, most of the buildings are high rises so when you are in the heart of the city, you feel like you are in a bigger city than you are really in.
 During the spring and summer the city is flooded with tourists from the big cruise ships that come in. One day there will be many British people, the next German and after wards Greeks. People come to Ajaccio for the warm weather, the beaches, the hiking trails in the mountains surrounding Ajaccio and to visit the Casa Bonaparte, Napoleon's home where he was raised. Ajaccio is very proud of being the home of the Bonaparte family. On a mountain over looking Ajaccio, is the Chateau de la Punta, the mansion of the Bonaparte family, but it does not reflect Corsican architecture but instead a rich,  Parisian bourgeois style because the mansion had imported parts from Paris.
There are five lycees in Ajaccio. A lycee is the French equivalent of an American high school, but they are for only three years instead of four. The biggest being Lycee Laetitia Bonaparte, named after Napoleon's sister. Lycee Fesch in downtown Ajaccio is the second biggest high school after Laetitia Bonaparte. Lycee Pro Jules Antonini is the professional high school, where students go when they know what career they want and work in more of a technical setting instead of  a general education like normal lycees. There is also Lycee Saint-Paul is a private Catholic middle school and high school. They also have a small bilingual lycee for kids to get taught in French and Corsican.
The night life in Corsica can interests young adults to older persons. There are clubs, bars and the casino for young adults looking to mingle, or for a more relaxing night you could go to one of the restaurants on one of the beautiful beaches and watch the sun set over the Îles Sanguinaires.
Ajaccio is a great city for every age, to get away from the chaos and just relax on the beaches, restaurants or to hike, or to even live in! A small city which has quaint qualities.
For some pictures of Corsica, go to

vendredi 6 décembre 2013

L'Histoire de la Corse: History of Corsica

Corsican history is one of violence, wars and the hope of having independence, there are fourteen old forts on the the edges of the island, reminding us of when Barbarian tribes, the Italians, the French, the English and the Greeks, would come invade Corsica, wanting the beautiful island for themselves. Because of many attacks, and not advanced enough to ward off the bugs around the warm sea, most Corsicans used to live in the mountains for protection from these invaders and insects. Many traditional Corsicans still live in the little villages in the mountains.
During WWII,  the Italians, knowing Corsica was an independent region, asked Corsica to fight with them instead of the French. The Corsicans, in reply, said "Facing the world, from the depth of our souls, for the sake of our glory, in honor of our graves and cradles, we swear to live and die French" This has been the one and only time that Les Corses have considered themselves French. WordPress says that "people living under Italian occupation in Haute-Savoie took to wearing metal badges of Corsica as a sign of opposition to Italian occupation" 
Modern Corsica is all about tourism and their sausages. Corsica is the most natural area in Western Europe, they have many hiking trails, mountains and two ski parks for people who love to do outdoor activities or you can visit the chic shops in Ajaccio and Porto-Vecchio, the beaches and quaint restaurants.

La Corse par Robert Paoli

La Corse by Robert Paoli, written in 2000, is an informational tourist book about Corsica, also published in French. It is in French with English translation at the bottom for those people that do not speak French. It describes Corsican history, the natural fauna of the island and each region in Corsica. My host parents gave me this book for Christmas so I could show and tell people back in America about Corsica. Each page has a picture of the colorful Corsica.

vendredi 22 novembre 2013

My Dream Year

           Last year I went to my dream place, Corsica, knowing nothing about it except that it was a Mediterranean Island. I spent a whole year there, discovering a rich culture that I would have not known otherwise if I would have stayed in Northern California.
          I instantly knew it was the place for me, falling in love with la charcuterie corse, the bright colors of the luscious green hills, the snow caped mountains and the turquoise waters. The people though, are the ones that really took my heart. They are proud people but they love with all their hearts. They took me in and I become like one of their sisters. Corsica has captured my heart, and maybe, it will capture yours too.