Last week 35 students, including all Year 11 students preparing for their French GCSE, traveled to northern France to spend 3 days immersing themselves in French culture and practicing for the upcoming exams.
We had a very early start, leaving school at 5am and heading to Dover by coach. We arrived at the south coast in glorious weather and took a smooth crossing to Calais, where we continued our journey to Ebblinghem, near the town of Saint Omer. Our accommodation was provided by NST, who helped us arrange our trip and plan our activities.
Arriving pretty tired in the late afternoon, we relaxed and got to know our accommodation a little, with some students taking advantage of the games room or the sports equipment. Our evening meal included the chance to try ‘les escargots’ – only four students were brave enough to try!
The next day, we enjoyed some croissants and hot chocolate before leaving for Lille, where we intended to spend the day exploring the city and looking around their Christmas markets. Our timing was certainly interesting, as France was caught in the middle of a national strike – meaning that the city was full of protesters and made our day a little more difficult! Despite that, the students practiced their language skills through the various stalls, buying presents for their families and some tasty treats to eat or drink! We left Lille just before the main protest started – but we did get the chance to see the demonstrations and the reaction of the city to it. We were also happy to meet Mme Esnault, our colleague from our partner school Lycée Jean Moulin. She brought her daughter Léa, who now goes to university in Lille and who actually took part in an exchange with Burnage whilst she was still at school in 2014. We were happy to have them guiding us around the city and they even bought us some presents (including a poster for Mr Morrison’s room) and took students to a book shop to help them find something to help their studies.
We spent the evening back in Ebblinghem and enjoyed a Christmas meal and quiz, ready for an early start the next day.
On our final day, we again enjoyed a French breakfast before heading to Saint Omer to enjoy some café culture – we separated into groups and went to different cafés or shops to buy some bread, coffees and hot chocolates. Again – students had to order their own in French or they wouldn’t be able to have any! We left Saint Omer just before lunch time, heading to Calais for the ferry back to Dover. Unfortunately, the sea was much more difficult this time and a few of us suffered from a little sea-sickness – but that’s all part of the fun!
Once back in Dover, we had a fairly smooth journey on the coach back to Burnage. We just wish we could have stayed longer!
Students who study French at GCSE will have the opportunity to visit France as part of their course, depending on availability. Speak to Mr Morrison or any French teacher if you’d like more information.
“The trip was really useful – I spoke to some French people when there and it made speaking the language much less scary when it comes to speaking it in school or in exams.” Imamul, Year 11
“It was amazing. I really want to go back – I saw my French improving and I was pleased with how much I understood.” Mohammed, Year 11