This year, as always, the linguistic opportunities across all years have been innumerable. At Tonbridge Grammar School, we strongly encourage and promote languages, meaning that students at any age will be studying at least one language. As well as this, a wide variety of extracurricular opportunities are offered.
Numerous clubs are held at lunchtimes, often run by our own Sixth Form students. These have included Spanish book club and French book club, in continuation with last year. Since September, languages film club has also been introduced, allowing younger pupils to juxtapose relaxation and fun with learning of languages. As we have a rather extensive bilingual community, especially of French speakers, a bilingual French club has been running for the last 8 months.
These activities have also enabled different year groups to collaborate together, whilst enjoying themselves. There has been a strong emphasis on trips abroad this year, such as the Italy trip last month, which included visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The upper school especially has benefited; with a Year 11 Spanish exchange in October; and Spanish and French exchanges for the Year 12’s, as well as the FerMUN conference, among others. Nicole, a student who went to Cadíz for the Spanish exchange, commented: “el intercambio me ayudo expandir mis horizontes y pude experienciar una cultura totalmente diferente!”. Likewise, Olivia, who participated in the Year 12 French exchange with the Lycée Ferney- Voltaire said: “L'échange scolaire avec Ferney-Voltaire à été une expérience formidable pour mes amis et moi. Je le recommanderais à tout le monde car je me suis éclaté". It was in Switzerland this time that a select group of Year 12 students were accompanied to the FerMUN conference for what was an unforgettable three days of bilingual debating, along with schools from around the world.
The younger age groups, too, have been enabled to experience a foreign language first-hand, by exchanging letters with penfriends from schools in both France and Spain. Excitingly, this year, the language department has broadened its reach, organising food technology lessons in French and hence providing cross-curricular links with languages. Furthermore, both Mandarin and Japanese ab initio lessons are taught to the current Year 12s for their IB Diploma. We look forward to the rest of the year, which promises to be as rich in international and linguistic prospects as it has been so far.
Written by Aliénor, Year 12