Cast : 29 nervous but excited Churchill students, three tired teachers.
Scene: a car park, somewhere in the South of France, at midnight.
Perhaps a less than auspicious start to the French exchange – following a delayed flight - but fortunately the warm welcome we received from the students and staff of the Lycée Marc Bloch made up for it. In a bid to escape ‘the Beast from the East 2’ we had headed off for a four day visit to our French exchange school and the region of Occitanie, in south west France.
Friday was a chance for Churchill students to experience a day in the new-build French secondary school, taking part in lessons and enjoying a three course lunch with exchange partners in the school canteen. Hats off to those who rose to the challenge of answering questions in lessons, on subjects as diverse as Literature, History and Physics – all in French, of course!
The weekend was spent with exchange families, visiting the region, enjoying the warm, sunny weather (yes, really!) sampling large quantities of the local cuisine and continuing to practise the language. Meeting up with students again on Monday morning, for our farewell breakfast at the lycée, it was fantastic to see how many of them had really got into the swing of things and were saying things in French without even having to think about it. Our final day was spent in the historic fortress town of Carcassonne, where students were free to explore, eat cassoulet and catch up on all the weekend’s gossip.
The students who participated in the trip deserve to be really proud of the way in which they tackled the challenges of living with another family and interacting almost exclusively in another language, especially as many of them are only currently in Year 9. As staff, we were absolutely delighted with the positivity and the perseverance of Churchill students, the improvement in your French is already noticeable in lessons too!