“Standing before the sliding doors in Nantes airport we felt nervous at the prospect of meeting our temporary families: the people we would be spending the next week with, in France.”
Cassie Taylor, Student
Le séjour en famille
This year, students in Years 9 to 11 have enjoyed a penpal programme exchange with students at a new lycée called Saint François d'Assise in Savenay. Our original French exchange links with the town were forged by Vincent Following on from a successful homestay visit by Isobel Bladon (OW 2022), who went to stay with a family in Savenay, the French department were keen to help our current Year 12 students to experience a homestay this May.
Cassie, Emily and Rebecca in our Lower Sixth, corresponded with their French counterparts for several weeks before travelling independently to stay for a week with their host families. They stayed in French homes and attend the Lycée, experiencing the French education system, as well as exploring the incredible sights of Nantes, La Baule and the medieval city of Guérande. Cecile also enjoyed inviting them to help with her younger students who were very keen to meet real English people!
“Standing before the sliding doors in Nantes airport we felt nervous at the prospect of meeting our temporary families: the people we would be spending the next week with, in France. However, it wasn’t as intimidating as we first imagined! We all parted ways and went with our families to explore…
Throughout the week, we all had a great time discovering the Loire-Atlantique region of France. We went to numerous beaches, the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire, the infamous salt marshes (les marais de sel) and enjoyed lots of wonderful French cuisine including in a crêperie in Nantes.
One of the most interesting challenges of the week was spending time at the Lycée de Saint François d'Assise, with our correspondents. We helped out in their English classes and appreciated the differences between English and French schools such as not wearing uniform, studying Spanish and Latin in Sixth Form and having an ‘assiette de fromage’ (a cheese board) at lunchtime!
Our experience was extremely useful to gain a first-hand insight into French culture and improve our speaking skills in a real-life context. We found that all of the people we met were very welcoming and were more than happy to help us in any way they could. We are still in contact with our correspondents and hope to welcome them to England in the near future!
By Cassie Taylor