Departing on the 24 November, our group of six senior French students travelled to Nantes and Marseilles to begin our exchange. For some of us, we were commencing a two-month independent, full-immersion trip to France, others just under the two months. After hosting our correspondents for seven weeks earlier in the year, it was now our turn to experience life as a French student.
After a near 30-hour journey, our correspondents met with us in Paris airport and our journey began. Over the next four weeks, we would be enrolled in La Perverie, a small high school in the suburbs of Nantes. During this time, we took part in our correspondents’ classes, attended some of our own and met many other exchange students from all over the world.
Whilst speaking only French all the time was tiring for us, the extra level of depth it added to our time in France made it that much more enjoyable, and we’re very grateful to Madame Gunn for preparing us so well in the classroom.
When not at school, we took part in daily life. We all had the chance to individually experience the opportunities that a true French immersion awarded us. This included, between us, visits to Paris, a week of immersion in Italy, as well as tasting authentic French cuisines all over the country.
It is, of course, daunting to spend so much time so far away (and far behind – about nine hours behind Australian time) from our lives, but we will all never forget our time spent on the French exchange. The places we went to, the experiences we shared and the people we met have shaped us as people and we are confident that we will all look back at our time in Nantes very fondly in the years to come.
Ellie Ryan and Jacques Dennison