French Exchange 2013
Written by Shosha Adie, Erykah Allen and Maisie Perry.
On the 24th March, 33 students from Richard Lander School and Penair flew to France to take part in an exchange with the Collège St Joseph in Toulouse. We stayed with host families and spent time in lessons as well as visiting the local area. At first it was very scary especially being picked up at the airport and going home with strangers, who quickly became like a second family. Toulouse is a very beautiful city and one of the activities we did in school was designed to familiarise us with its landmarks and culture. We visited the mediaeval city of Carcassonne which was utterly breath-taking. We had time to explore the tiny streets and to walk along the battlements. We were also taken to the science park ‘Cité de l’Espace’ where we were able to climb onto a replica of the Russian space ship Sputnik which was surprisingly cramped and one of the highlights of this activity would have to be the planetarium. We had a talk in French about planets and the night sky which, although difficult to follow, was made enjoyable by the graphics on the ceiling which made you feel like you were actually in space.
Toulouse is famous for aeronautical engineering, particularly the assembly of the Airbus A380 which we were lucky enough to be able to witness for ourselves. Basically the A380 is a huge ‘double decker’ aircraft, parts for which are made all over Europe and then shipped to Toulouse where the main body of the plane is made. We saw three planes under construction, one of which had been ordered by an Arab Prince and had on board a garage for his Rolls Royce!
The French students arrived in Truro last Friday and sadly leave us tomorrow (you may have seen them in school – they are the ones without a uniform!) It has been a life changing experience. We have made new friends in France and surprisingly in our own area with students from Penair.
It’s probably the scariest but most memorable experiences of our lives to date and certainly one we would recommend to others. We are all hoping to stay in touch with our French friends and see them again in the near future. They have all been surprised by how nice the food is here and how friendly everyone has been.