My school organized a school exchange project for three months with a school of France, Lycée Saint-Claire Derval. In this part I will explain the basics of how it was organized, part 2 will be more focused on my experience.
My journey started on 12 September 2015 and lasted until 12 December 2015.
The project was situated in France. In France they speak an other language than I, so that was the first ‘difficulty’. I live in Belgium and French is spoken here also, but it isn’t my primarily language (which is Dutch). French is also an important subject in my school. Studying in France was a great way to learn how to speak their language better. I found it an extraordinary opportunity to open my vision about the world and see the changes with Belgium in a land that is still so close to mine.
In May 2015 a teacher of my school contacted all the students, searching for the ones who were interested in the project. There were selections after that. In the beginning we were with sixteen, but at the final selection we only ended up with three. Tuur, Laura and I. In the selection a few teachers and staff of my school asked us a few questions to see if we were ready to eventually go there. Because spending three months in France wasn’t going to be the hardest part, catching up with the missed courses was.
We left on Saturday September 12. One of our teachers brought us to the station of Lille. And we had to drag along our bags on foot… We had breakfast at the station and we got on the train at 10 o’clock. Five hours later we arrived in Rennes, still one and a half hours away from Derval, the village of the school. There, a French teacher picked us up and brought us to the school were our host families were waiting. The school is a boarding school, so I only stayed with the host family in the weekends and the holidays.
The main goal of going in France is to learn how to speak the language better. Talking with the people and following the courses was going to be very important. The school in Derval is an agricultural school, but my school in Belgium isn’t. So we didn’t need to follow the agricultural courses. The classes we did need to attend to were French, German, English, maths, geometry, history, biology and PE.
In the remaining time we could study for the courses of Belgium. My teachers in Belgium wanted us to keep in touch and us catching up regularly with the missed courses. My classmates helped me and they send me those dearly missed pages of fascinating and captivating chapters of schoolwork…
BACK IN BELGIUM
Now that I’m back in Belgium again, I have to make some tests so that the teachers can see where I might still need help with. Now that I’ve returned I realize this was really an experience of a lifetime. I hope people who are hesitating to participate in an exchange project, have got some inspiration or an extra boost to do the same. I think it is a great way to learn more about the world, enrich your mind. All of us three have come back with great satisfaction and I would do it all over again.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Thank you for reading!