18th July 2017 – Some of our Y8 students were lucky enough to go on an exchange to Lyon in the South of France last month. Here Elizabeth Burridge (8T) tells us all about it …
We all had a great time and are sure that our French has dramatically improved due to the experience. Nearly all of the girls are still in contact with their exchange partners, and we are glad to have made some amazing lifelong friends. Some girls have even arranged to go to Lyon this summer and meet up with their partners again! Many of us were also given the chance to try traditional French foods such as Camembert cheese, frog legs, Quenelles, and a type of cured meat that is a Lyon speciality.
We had an early start on the day the tip began, as we had to meet at St. Albans Station at 6:15 am. Once we arrived in Lyon, our partners came to collect us and we went home to spend the afternoon and evening with the family. We also spent the whole of Sunday with our partners, enjoying various exciting trips and activities around Lyon and its surrounding districts. I was lucky enough to go on a boat cruise down the Rhône and learn lots about Lyon from the commentary (which was thankfully in English, as I had only just arrived, and I had not yet seen much change in my French skills).
On the Monday, we went to Parc De Tête D’Or (Park of the Golden Head) and we spent the morning wandering around the beautiful park, taking part in a photography challenge. After lunch, we headed back to school for a pleasant afternoon relaxing in the shade, followed by an evening with our partners. On the Tuesday, we spent the day at Les Charteux (the school) and two groups were thrown a little into the deep end with the first class being French literature. We all enjoyed both days that we spent at the school, although the canteen food wasn’t particularly enjoyable!
On Wednesday, we took a trip on the funicular railway up to the top of one of the hills in Lyon, and looked around the beautiful basilica of Fourviere, and the surrounding Roman ruins. We also took part in another photography challenge at the Roman ruins. As a group, our task was to depict our favourite moment of our favourite place from the trip so far. On Thursday, we had another day in the school, and on Friday we took a trip to the old city of Saint Jean, and had a guided tour around one area of it.
At the station on the final day, everyone was very sad as it was time to say our last goodbyes and to get ready to go home. Everyone thanked their exchange families, bought any last-minute items from the shops at the station, said some tear-filled goodbyes, and left to get on the train home. And although we were sad to leave, many people were looking forward to the prospect of sleeping in their own beds again!
Many people spent lots of time in swimming pools, and some of us were even lucky enough to be invited to a pool party or two. It was an amazing experience, and something I would definitely do again (and recommend to any Year 7s who are thinking of doing this for next year). I loved Lyon, and hope other people embark on this adventure to France, to improve their language skills, meet new people, and just have a good time!