French Exchange

1st December 2017

On Thursday 9th November, twenty-five French students from Lycée Rey in Normandy came to our school, to stay with some of our students in their homes. Before their arrival, we waited in anticipation, wondering how the next week, that we would be spending with them, would be. When they finally got here, and we all met our exchange partners in real life for the first time, an awkward echo of badly-spoken French small talk ensued throughout the room. With this in mind, it is astounding as to not only how vastly and dramatically the experience improved our French, but also the extremely close bonds that were formed over the following days.

Although there was a much larger element of charades involved in conversations than the norm, the experience allowed a non-judgmental and comfortable way of learning a new language that didn't feel as though we were consciously learning or using a strenuous amount of energy to absorb the abundance of new knowledge. Not only that, but it also gave tangible value to being able to speak another language, and a further insight into French lifestyle, culture and mindset.

All in all, partaking in the exchange turned out to be much less daunting than I had first imagined, and was an incredibly fun and refreshing way to learn something that could be potentially careerexpanding, or open doors for many more life experiences. By the end of the week, speaking in French came with a largely increased feeling of ease and felt more natural - albeit with the helping hand of Google Translate. Personally, the exchange inspired me to more consciously strive towards improving my French outside of the classroom, as well as in it, and I cannot wait until we get to go to France ourselves in March.

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