Between Saturday 25th March and Wednesday 29th March, a group of fifteen Year 12 French students went to Geneva to participate in the French exchange. We had already met our exchange partners when they came to England in December, so we were looking forward to seeing them again. As soon as we were picked up by our host families from the airport, we had to start communicating in French, which was tricky at first. We spent the first evening with our exchanges and met their families or went out.
On Sunday, we decided to all meet at Lake Geneva as a big group to spend the afternoon there. We walked around, grabbed some food and got a chance to catch up with all the French exchanges we had not seen since December.
On Monday morning we went to the French school, which was quite a different experience from what we are used to! The school building was very modern and minimalistic, but lessons were taught in a more traditional way. The school day finishes at 5.30pm, but the English students were lucky and went on a trip to the CERN Large Collider after lunch. We were given a rather complex presentation on how CERN was founded and what it does as an organisation. But afterwards we were shown the first CERN accelerator which was interesting to see. We spent the evening at our exchanges’ houses or did an activity with them.
On Tuesday, the English students spend the whole day in Geneva whilst our French exchanges had to go to their usual lessons. Two students from the neighbouring Ferney-Voltaire school organised a tour of Geneva for us. Our teacher had organised a visit to the United Nations and we got a tour around the Headquarters in French, so that we managed to see the fascinating conference room of the Human Rights Council with its breath taking ceiling. Afterwards we spent our sunny lunch break in the Jardin Botanique next to the UN. In the afternoon we were given free time to go shopping or eat an ice cream in the city. Like on the day before, we returned home with our exchanges in the evening.
On Wednesday morning we went to school again and experienced more French lessons. At lunchtime we sadly had to say goodbye to our exchanges because we left to go to Ferney-Voltaire for the afternoon, before going to the airport to fly back to England. Although it was challenging to speak in French the whole time, the exchange was a fantastic trip for all of us because it allowed us to experience the French and Swiss culture, to bond with other English students who we wouldn’t necessarily spend a lot of time with at school, and of course to improve our French!
Article written by Anne-Marie - Year 12