Birds, basketball, a basilica and fun among the branches – creating memories of a lifetime on QE’s long-running French exchange

Birds, basketball, a basilica and fun among the branches – creating memories of a lifetime on QE’s long-running French exchange

Twenty-two Year 8 pupils spent a week soaking up modern French culture and improving their language skills on a trip to eastern France.

The group were kept busy with a host of activities during their stay with pupils from QE’s partner school, Collège St Pierre, from the town of Bourg en Bresse, between Lyon and Geneva.

The trip was the return leg of the exchange, following the visit in February of the French pupils.

Languages teacher Katrin Hood said that the exchange had definitely been a highlight of the year: “It was such a pleasure to see our students rise to the challenge of ‘living like locals’ for a week in another country.”

By spending evenings and the weekend of the trip with families, the QE boys were able to build their confidence in French, as well as experiencing a different way of life.

Pupil Aarav Agrawal, of Pearce House, said: “My partner was David and he was a really nice person and his family really treated me well; especially with snacks! My favourite part of the whole French exchange was probably our visit to the 1055 leisure park with our partners. It had laser tag, VR, bowling and a trampoline park.”

The official programme also included:

  • A joint visit for both the QE boys and their partners to the Parc des Oiseaux (bird park)
  • QE day trip to Lyon, one of France’s biggest cities with a beautiful old town
  • A day at the Collège St Pierre to see lessons take place
  • An interactive quiz about Bourg en Bresse, which lies at the foot of the Jura mountains and is the capital of the ancient province of Bresse
  • An afternoon at Accrobranche (similar to Go Ape).

Several of the boys listed their own highlights. For Noah Green, it was the bird park visit, although he said the whole trip was “definitely the most fun thing” he had ever done as a QE pupil.

Noah’s fellow member of Underne form, Harsh Chavda, said: “I particularly enjoyed going to the market on the last day because it is rare to find such markets here in London. There were so many different shops – selling cheese, olives, bread, desserts, Chinese food, clothes and so much more! Some of us asked the owner of the cheese store to give us his strongest cheese, and we all tasted some. It was so strong and for me, disgusting!

“When we went to Lyon, we learned about the Basilica of Notre-Dame and how it’s dedicated to the Virgin Mary for saving Lyon from the plague.

“My highlight of the trip has to be the basketball match my exchange family took me to, because I have never been to one and the atmosphere in the stadium was so good. All in all, the French exchange trip created memories of a lifetime – such a special experience.”

Accompanying the boys were Ms Hood, Sciences teacher Bryn Evans and cover supervisor Joan Anderson. The exchange with Collège St Pierre has been running since 2010.

“We are very grateful to all of the families who took part for hosting our French guests so well, and to all of our colleagues who have played a part in the success of the trip,” said Ms Hood.