After months of planning, we finally set off for our visit to Montpellier. All students and teachers were ready and on time to arrive for our early morning flight. We had read the weather forecast, packed our French books and were ready to live and speak as the French for five days.
On arrival at Gatwick, we soon realised that something was amiss as information about our plane was missing from the board. Eventually, we found out that French air traffic control was on strike. What should we do? Fly to Barcelona? This was not an option as this was in French airspace. Travel by Eurostar? This was not a possibility as the connections would not work out. Fortunately, our tour operator came to the rescue and found a coach company in Gatwick and off we went. The students prepared themselves for a long journey, perhaps not realising that we would not get to Montpellier until the next day at 7.00am.
Everyone in our school in France, LSF, was organised for our arrival and organised rooms in the local university so that we could take a shower and change our clothes. This was followed by a historical and informative tour of Montpellier, lunch and the afternoon on the beach. A full day which students enjoyed as we travelled by tram and bus and it was an opportunity for them to talk to the local residents and mix with other students. Very quickly their level of comprehension improved and indeed conversations in French began. Later that day the group met their host families and walked to their accommodation.
On the following days students walked to school and enjoyed their French classes. Feedback included “Miss I am thinking in French!“ “I really like my class, we are learning so much, the activities are fun and we speak French all the time”. The host families were used to having students and encouraged them to speak in French and sample local cuisine. The students adapted very quickly to the way of life and were confident in finding their way to school each morning and to their host families.
It is true to say that we were all very sad to come home. “Can’t we stay one more day?” “Could you change the flights so that we can stay longer?”
This was Greensward’s first visit to Montpellier and all of the students on the trip have said they would like to return. I personally found the trip to be a rewarding experience in terms of students’ learning and appreciation of French culture. Those who went on the trip returned to class enthused and more confident in their knowledge of French. Hopefully we will run the trip again next year. À la prochaine!