Students embrace enriching opportunities on language exchanges to France and Germany

Students embrace enriching opportunities on language exchanges to France and Germany

1 July 2024

In June, students took part in immersive two-week exchange programmes with counterparts in France and Germany, which not only improved their language skills but also enriched their understanding of their exchange partner’s culture.

Miss Philippa Southern, French Language Assistant

The Year 9 French exchange programme partnered with La Salle, a school in picturesque Annecy, a town affectionately known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’. The first week saw our French visitors experiencing life in England, where they were warmly welcomed into Woldingham students’ homes and our Year 9 boarding house.

During our stay in charming Annecy, students took pedalos around the crystal-clear waters of Annecy Lake, toured a traditional French boulangerie, and enjoyed day trips to Chamonix and Geneva. These adventures, and their time with their host family, gave them a real insight into French life.

Our students' feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many describing the exchange as the best week of their year so far. Being surrounded by native speakers and living in a French-speaking environment is a valuable advantage as students approach their GCSEs. Beyond language acquisition, the exchange fostered independence, courage, and a deeper understanding of a new culture.

Mr Vaclav Ceska, Head of German

Our adventurous Year 10 students made the most of their exchange with sister Sacred Heart school, the Sophie Barat Schule in Hamburg.

Any initial apprehensions students had about staying with host families they’d not met before quickly disappeared as they embraced every moment of their time in Hamburg, experiencing local traditions and exploring beaches situated just over an hour's drive from the city.

A sightseeing and shopping excursion to Berlin was a highlight for many, while others have shared with me how much they enjoyed attending school in Hamburg and learning about daily life in Germany.

The reciprocal leg of the exchange saw our German friends spend time at Woldingham – including joining us for Speech Day – as well as exploring London and Brighton.

This experience has undoubtedly broadened students’ horizons and shown them the transformative power of international friendships and cultural exchange.

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