UEA midfielder on coping with lockdown in France.

UEA central midfielder, Sam Nelson, is currently on his year abroad in Toulouse, studying French and International Relations, choosing to remain there for the rest of the summer.

Like in Britain, the country is just starting to lift some of its lockdown measures.

“All the shops are just opening, and libraries, but no bars or anything yet,” he said.

“My dad was quite happy [about me staying]. He said, ‘do what you think is best as it is a rare opportunity,’ but then my mum was like, ‘I want you to come home.’ I do understand, I haven’t seen my parents since Christmas, so it has been a while. They are very supportive.”

Living in France to learn the language has been a good opportunity, but there are small cultural differences, as well as sporting ones.

When living in France, the language isn’t the only difference; there are plenty of cultural changes, both on and off the pitch, to get used to.

“When passing people in a corridor there isn’t any ‘you alright?’ or small talk like that,” Nelson said.

“Going out is different too, they won’t go hammer and tongs at pre-drinks and after go to a few bars. Rarely do we get to a club.”

“I have played lots of 5-a-side football [after missing the training period for the university team], but they take it so seriously.

“I tried to nutmeg someone and laughed about it. I tried it again later and failed again and my team told me to stop giving the ball away.”

One of the travails has been adjusting to classes entirely taught in French.

“I wouldn’t say I’m fluent but I’m confident in speaking in any context. Mostly it’s the confidence levels, so I’m much better than if I hadn’t come. That’s why I want to stay here over the summer.”

With his final year at UEA approaching, Sam wants to play an important role in the development of the new players.

“I want to play for UEA again next year.” He said.

“I quite like the idea of having a closer relationship with the freshers than before, help them out in a new place.”

However, with organised sport still on hold in the UK, it remains to be seen how this will affect the university sports clubs come September.


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July 2021
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