In Wider Skills Week, 11 French A Level students took part in a six-day visit to Lille. Staying with local families, they spent five days in local workplaces as “stagiaires” on a work experience placement. Travelling by Eurostar, they were greeted at Lille Europe station by their host families and then set about getting to know the town and how to get to their work placements. This was the beginning of a packed week of immersive French, learning and being exposed to all sorts of different aspects of French work and home life, and using their French in the real world to deal with all manner of different situations.
We enjoyed a group meal one evening to exchange tales and share experiences, and some got the chance to turn tourist as their workplaces closed for July 14 Fete Nationale.
Here is what the students said they learned:
“It was good to hear a more natural way of speaking French that you don’t tend to learn in class,”
“Unlike in the UK, waitressing is taken very seriously,”
“I think it was a really good trip, and the amount of French I heard was astounding so I’m sure it really helped!”
“I was very immersed in the French language,”
“The metro is cool,”
“I learnt useful phrases,”
“I enjoyed the French daily routine, ie using the metro, going to French shops and cafes, going to a French workplace etc”
“Having a host family was so useful as they could help answer questions that I had, about things that had happened during the day.”
Catherine Wilks, Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Esher Sixth Form College, added, “I was really impressed with the students’ spirit and attitude throughout the trip, and we all enjoyed getting to know Lille, with its beautiful old town and lively atmosphere.”