A group of James Hargest College and Southland Girls’ High School senior French students spent just over 3 weeks in France in April and the beginning of May. Firstly the students spent 6 days in Paris. Mrs Black was the group’s tour guide and took the students to a variety of places such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Versailles, Catacombes and Disneyland. The students loved the experience and rated the sights highly.
From Paris, the group travelled to Arras and Le Quesnoy. Both places had strong links with New Zealand soldiers during World War 1, with the latter town being liberated from the Germans near the end of the war. The students lay a wreath at the NZ Memorial, in remembrance of the soldiers who fought there. It was very fitting being only a week before ANZAC Day.
Next the group travelled to Bourg-en-Bresse. Each student lived with their penpal, who had stayed with them in Invercargill in February. The next 2 weeks were spent completely immersed in the French culture. The students had the opportunity to speak French, dine on French cuisine, attend a French school (Lycee Lalande) and see the local sights.
There were many tears on the last day when the Invercargill students had to leave their host families and begin their journey home. Most of the students are already talking about when they will be able to go back to France and meet up with their hosts again.
On the 5th of April we endured the extremely long flight which took us to France. We spent 3 weeks in Lille with our correspondents and got the chance to attend their school with them and really delve into the French culture. We had the experience of going to Belgium a couple times as it was extremely close to Lille. The city of Bruges was a highlight for many of us as it was very beautiful.
After departing Lille and leaving our correspondents behind which was a rough time for all of us as we had all become so close during our time together, we started the next chapter in our journey. The sadness was soon forgotten though as we had a week in Paris to look forward to. Paris lived up to every expectation I had. It was incredible, from the buildings, to the people, to the food. We had the opportunity of visiting all the famous and historic monuments like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, including the churches and museums which Paris has to offer.
This month changed my life for the better and if I had the chance I would definitely take it again and again. Travelling to France made me realise how big the world really is and the amount of opportunities which lie out there.