After hosting their French exchange partners in their homes, it was time for the 22 students to travel to France and experience life as a French teenager. The group consisted of 20 Year 10s, 2 Year 11s, Ms Dickson, Ms Antal and Mrs Fowler flew out of Melbourne Airport on Friday 9 December. Three flights and 24 hours later, we arrived in Nice Airport to 22 very happy families, ready to make the most of the four week experience.
Classes started on Monday and we were officially welcomed by the Principal team.
For the next week, the students followed their partners to classes, exhausted by the long school days and listened to lots of French. They also went to English classes and presented on topics like Australian sport, geography, music and so on. Some days sent us on excursions, exploring the French Riviera. In the first week, we went to the town of Valbonne where we were greeted by the Adjunct Mayor and explored the market and old village streets. We also went to Alpha Loup, a nature park in the mountains that cares for the wolf population. The students were almost as excited to play in the snow as they were to see the wolves.
The students then had two weeks of holidays with their French families. Some went to Paris, some to Milan and other parts of Italy, some went skiing in the Alps, some to country towns in France to visit grandparents. They experienced the Christmas and New Year holidays in France.
After one more week of school which included two excursions (St Tropez and a wattle farm), it was time to say a teary goodbye and fly home. Overall, it was an incredible experience where students learnt so much. Their knowledge and comprehension of French language improved, as did their confidence in speaking French. Their understanding of French culture and daily life also increased significantly. For some students, they have made lifelong connections with their French exchange partner and their families.
Thank you to Mrs Binnion and Mr Kan who made sure this trip could go ahead. Thank you to Ms Dickson and Ms Antal for organising the trip and travelling to France with the students. Thank you to Mrs Fowler and Mr Jewell for accompanying the group to and from France. Finally, thank you to the fantastic students who made the most of the experience and were excellent ambassadors for our school.