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Meriden welcomes French students in reciprocal exchange

Meriden girls on French exchange trip
Meriden girls at sister school St Jacques de Compostelle

Meriden has welcomed a group of students from France as a part of a reciprocal exchange program with sister school St Jacques de Compostelle. The French students had hosted eight Meriden girls from Years 10 and 11 in December last year for three weeks.

During their trip to France, Meriden girls were immersed in the local culture and language. They stayed in the small town of Dax, in the south-west of France, and spent two weeks attending classes delivered entirely in French.

“It was an amazing experience with some challenging moments,” said Year 12 student, Zara Gupta.

“School in France was quite different. Every morning, we would wake up at 7:00am, and it was pitch-black outside. By the time we left school at 6:00pm, it was dark again. The school days were very long, but we did have a two-hour lunch break, during which we were served a three-course meal.

“Adjusting to life at school was tough, especially since all the classes were conducted in French. Despite the language barrier, I managed to make meaningful friendships and tried my best to communicate.

“This trip offered us a new perspective on France, allowing us to experience the country like a local. It was more than just a trip; it was an enriching experience that has improved my French-speaking skills, increased my confidence, and fostered close relationships. I highly recommend this experience to future language students.”

French teacher and Meriden’s Dean of Lateral Learning, Ms Priscilla Curran, said Meriden has had this partnership with St Jacques de Compostelle for eight years, however this was the first year that in-person visits were able to recommence after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The girls benefitted greatly from the experience and dealt with both the positive and the challenging aspects of this exchange with great maturity. It was a pleasure to watch them improve their language skills, support each other and push themselves out of their comfort zone in order to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them,” she said.

For two weeks, Meriden girls are extending their hospitality to the girls who hosted them in France. The French students have settled into classes on campus and are experiencing attending school in Meriden uniform.

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