SHopkins’ Languages Blog

Miss Hopkins’ students’ one-stop-shop

Dijon Exchange 07

Just got back from Dijon after spending a week in the company of 37 Year 9 girls and boys from Southend! It was an exhausting week for everyone but extremely rewarding for all concerned. It was so nice to hear comments like:

“I had some… er… poisson… for dinner. Argh! I keep doing that, putting the French word in… it just gets in your head!”
“Every night for dinner i’ve had things i’ve never tried before, it’s brilliant”!
“The family sit around the table and talk loads and they don’t really sit around watching tv! It’s really good”.

I don’t think other trips quite impact upon students in the same way as an exchange. To find yourself “on your own” in a family speaking another language, feeling homesick and anxious but finding a way to communicate, finding out that you can fit in, make new friends, be a stronger and more confident young person, discovering and appreciating a different way of life or even finding that things aren’t that different… all these things add up to a life-changing experience; one that the kids never forget and the teachers are privileged enough to witness. You see students mature and evolve before your eyes. I just wish everyone could get the chance to do a foreign exchange, but these days it’s getting more and more difficult and we are trying more and more to wrap young people up in cotton wool (perhaps understandably?) Risk assessments are more and more detailed, people talk about having to carry out CRB checks on the families… Mainly we rely on colleagues in the French school having some knowledge of the host families. I don’t know what the answer is on this front, but I just know how much this kind of trip broadens the students’ realm of experience and that it opens their minds far beyond what we can give them in the classroom.

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June 25, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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