During the July August 2017 vacation, students of Holy Name Convent from Forms 3, 4 and 6, visited France. This trip was a way of exposing students that were doing French or were interested in doing it, to the culture of the French people. It was an opportunity for students to encounter the various situations where they can further develop their French skills, in terms of speaking and writing.
The trip was from 20th July to 8th August 2017. They first stayed in the city of Paris in a youth hostel called Fiap, then traveled to Vichy where they stayed French families. The students visited many sites in France such as the Puy de Dôme Mountain, Notre Dame Cathedral, Le Louvre in Paris and the Eiffel Tower. They also visited the Cavilam school in Vichy, where they attended French classes and were able to present a small aspect of Trinbagonian culture, through dance.
When travelling to an from France, they made stops in London, England and were able to catch a glimpse of the London eye and Big Ben.
Here are interviews of a few of the students about their experience from the trip:
“Did you face any challenges due to the language barrier?“
“Yes,” she replied,”I had to ask for scissors this one time and I had to look up the word. That’s one example. In the schools, the language barrier was a real problem. They asked me, ‘Tu comprends?’ (Do you understand?) and I said ‘oui’ (yes), but I didn’t know what they were saying to me.”
“Why did you choose to go?“
“I chose to go because my parents said I should and that it would be a good opportunity for me to get to know people and stop being so ‘anti-social’.”
“What was your favorite site out of those you all visited?“
“My favorite site has to be the museum, Le Louvre.”
“Did you face any challenges due to the language barrier?”
“At first yes, it was very difficult because just like in Orals, you freeze up and it’s like, you understand what they’re saying but you don’t know how to reply…after a while, though, you get accustomed to thinking more quickly, and you feel like you’re thinking in french. It’s hard to describe, but even now, when somebody asks me something, it’s easier to reply in french.”
“Why did you choose to go?”
“I chose to go on this trip, because I wasn’t as interested in the language, I was more interested in the grade, but I thought the trip would give me more cultural diversity. I would be able to experience different places, how they do things and I felt like I would be able to speak more fluent french, from the native tongue.”
“And what was you favourite attraction you visited?”
“The Eiffel Tower for sure, it was just so beautiful…and then we went on the Champs-Élysées, and obviously I liked it because it’s my name-sake…Besides that, just the environment of being in a foreign country with your friends was good.”
“Did you face any challenges with regards to the language barrier?”
“No, because my parents [the parents of the exchange family they stayed with] spoke a little English, so whatever we didn’t know in French, they knew in English.”
“Why did you choose to go?”
“Because I really love french and I love to travel, and it looked like a very good opportunity.”
“Did you choose french as a subject for Form 4?”