French Tour 2014 - by Annie Webeck (10JWi)
On the bus driving to Le Mans, everyone was excited and really nervous about meeting their exchanges whom we hadn't seen for 7 months. Once we finally arrived and reunited with our French partners, we went off to the Lycée Notre Dame for a welcome reception. Many had a jam packed weekend with their families and everyone was eager to share their stories the following Monday. A number of us visited the Mont St Michel and the Normandy region while others stayed in Le Mans to go bowling, karting and tree climbing.
The week at school was also very interesting. Classes with the partners really tested our level of French but also gave everyone an insight into the daily routines of the French way of life. We also visited the Town Hall, the local market, the Old City of Le Mans, the Cathedral and the Beline's chocolate factory.
It was also lots of fun to explore the city of Angers with our exchanges; we visited the Château and the Apocalypse tapestries, then we had an afternoon free to shop and relax with our friends.
The school life with our exchanges can be summarised as different: eating in a large dining hall for lunch, much longer days at school (up to 6.00 pm) and the different structure of the school timetable.
Our final weekend with our French correspondents was once again very entertaining. Some visited Paris, Disneyland and others went horse riding through the French forests, sand yachting and a number of other adventures. The weekend with families was also quite challenging at times, from a language point of view!
For me, the weekend with my exchange was the highlight of the tour. Conversations with the parents were sometimes challenging but my French definitely improved and I began to understand more local phrases rather than the textbook structures learnt at school. Playing cards or chatting at dinner became so much fun purely because I was understanding more and was able to communicate with the family with greater ease.
Finally, our time with our exchanges ended. In the bus, everyone discussed the cultural differences between France and Australia: the food, the daily routines, the houses, the architecture, the activities and most importantly the language! Our French has definitely improved and many have expressed their wish to return to France and even see their partners again.
Our group had a fantastic time and it was sad to farewell our host families and French exchanges. We can't wait to go back!