Tour to France

April 28, 2015 at 10:13 AM

IMG_5911.JPGFor the purpose of practising language skills and learning more about French culture and history, twenty students and three teachers visited France in the Easter holidays.  The group was comprised of both NCEA and IB students from Years 12 and 13.  The trip began and ended in Paris, with short stays in Nice and Bordeaux filling the weeks in between.

In Paris, the students visited la Tour Eiffel, l’Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, le Louvre and le Sacré Coeur.  They toured the Latin Quarter, Monet’s house and garden and Paris by night; by bus, boat and on bikes.  The cycle tour was one of the highlights for many of the students; navigating Parisian traffic and stopping for photo opportunities.  As use of language and comprehension was a focus, Mrs Mcmillan’s and Mr Navarro’s instructions and conversations were delivered in French.  Tour guides also led the tours in French.  As a result, the students’ comprehension skills and confidence in speaking greatly improved.  Listening and time management skills were honed when catching the metro.  Students gained a new appreciation for the meaning of rush hour Paris-style.

Extended time was provided at le Louvre as well as an additional trip to le Musée d’Orsay for interested art students. Some directly related the visits to their IB Extended Essay assessments.  Time in Paris was brought to a close with another highlight of the trip; Disneyland.

In Nice, students attended a language school each morning and explored cultural and historic attractions each afternoon.  Walking tours in Nice, Monte Carlo and parts of the Cote d’Azur gave students an insight into Italian architectural influence, medieval villages, majestic cathedrals and the life of the rich and famous in Monaco.  The Matisse museum was another highlight for art students in this area.  The weather was unfailingly beautiful and a number of students spent a very enjoyable afternoon swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.  The broad variety of experiences gave practical and memorable ways for students to learn new vocabulary.  Students attended a French cooking class and played pétanque, having learnt a few tips from the pétanque club members.

The evenings in Nice were spent with host families who gave the students more opportunities to use their French.  They toured the perfume factory at Eze and enjoyed the picturesque French countryside from the train, between each main centre.

The homestay students and families were a highlight in Bordeaux.  Pupils of Lycée Vaclav-Havel had been corresponding with the College students since 2014. Many Saint Kentigern College students considered attending classes in Bordeaux as a highlight of the trip.  The principal of the lycée was very welcoming to the students and staff; giving a tour of the eco-friendly school himself and passing the rugby ball with our Saint Kentigern College rugby players. 

One morning’s class was taken by five year olds at the Elisabeth Milot and Ferdinand Buisson kindergarten.  The pre-schoolers performed skits, sang, posed questions to the visiting kiwis and gave gifts they had made themselves.  The Saint Kentigern College students did their best to keep up with the language skills of the five year olds and gifted picture books, written in English, to the kindergarten.

Afternoon excursions in Bordeaux included visits to Chateaux de Roques, St Emilion, Dune du Pyla and the beach at Arcachon.  In the city centre, the students completed a scavenger hunt that gave them a good idea of the layout and attractions.  Mrs MacDonald gave some of the English students an introduction to the French play Antigone, as part of the IB course.  They attended a live performance, asking questions of the actors afterwards.

The last evening in Bordeaux was the main highlight for the students.  At the musical café, Cajou Café, students joined in with singing traditional French songs and sang some kiwi numbers. 

Students were very pleased with the progress they made in understanding French and using it themselves to communicate.  Many thanks to Mrs Mcmillan for the time and effort put into organising this trip for the benefit of her students and to Mr Navarro and Mrs MacDonald for assisting with the smooth running of this memorable trip.  

With thanks to Mrs Joanne MacDonald

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