French Exchange

The French Exchange

Following on from the work that many have done from Geographical cultural social underlining of France; Over the year our school received approximately 30 students from our partner school and then we sent ours over to them. When receiving students, the French students spent their time with the ‘buddies’, they went on trips and gave presentations on their culture and differences that they had perceived. This involved a question and answer from the whole classes. Students continued to study cultural differences and between the countries, with many going to language club as an extracurricular activity. Students then focused on writing to their ‘buddies’ in France, getting to know each other and the area that they later visited. Some of our students (approx. 30) visited France; immersing themselves in French schooling. This improved their language skills and understanding of  the differences in schooling and culture. During this time, they lived with French students. They wrote a diary in French to share with other students on their return.

Our aims:

For students to spend actual time in another culture to learn how their own might differ. For students to improve their linguistic skills in French and push themselves to go beyond what is comfortable.

For students to reflect on their own culture, encourage further engagement with foreign people of their age and allows for discussion on the cultural impact from other places.

The teacher’s reflection

“I believe that the French exchange has had an important impact on the students. The students have immersed themselves in French daily life, gone to French school, shared meals with French family and friends.  It has increased their understanding and tolerance of how other people live in a different country to their own.  The students often find themselves in awkward and new situations on the exchange, for example when everyone around them is speaking and they struggle to understand but they have to put up with it and they come out stronger for it.  There is often a cross curricular benefit in the exchange as well, for example trips out to Nimes, Pont du Gard, Arles where there is a Roman past.  This has on occasion been the trigger that caused introverted students to become more animated and engaged. In addition to this their listening and speaking skills have improved and there has been an increase in the number of students taking French at GCSE as a direct result of taking part on the exchange.” Ms Brooks











What did the students think?

“Having an exchange student can be really fun because it is like really long sleepover, however it can be very tough and stressful because you have to care for the other person and worry about whether they understand what you are saying or not. It is a good idea to go to town with your friends that have exchange students as well because it lifts some weight off your shoulders briefly, allowing the exchange students to talk to each other and you to talk to your friends. I also found it helpful to find someone with an exchange student that you can hang out with after school so that you are not alone with your exchange student and they can be with their friend as well. In general, I think that an exchange is a really good thing to do because it helps to teach you or someone else a language but also teaches you about large responsibilities and how to manage them.” James Burch Year 8

“On Thursday 7th June 2018, we went on the French Exchange to Montpellier. Most days we had tours and day trips out with our school party. My French exchange, Inès B, was really lovely and welcomed me to her family and home. We both tried our best to speak each other’s language, helping and correcting mistakes; it was challenging, but it was fun to persevere. There were lots of different foods and drinks which I had never seen before, but I tried a lot of them during the time I was there; some things were strange to me! The family were very generous and chatty, wanting me to get involved in everything. Thank you!” Alethea Saunders Year 10