Tuesday 10th April 2007 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston sixth formers got a taste of Gallic life when they had work experience in France. The group, comprising Year 12 and 13 students worked at a variety of locations including a radio station, shops and nursing homes during their week-long visit.
The annual visit always proves popular with A-level students and this year's contingent found that their French improved dramatically as they had to use it at all times during the trip in March.
Year 12 students, Daniela Mancini, Ross Mansell, Sam Hedges, Shaney Langhorn and Katie Younds found placements at a radio station, boulangerie and primary school respectively. Daniela did on-air weather reports and was also expected to take part in live discussions on issues such as nuclear power!
Shaney said that the children she taught responded well to her French while Ross had to get used to serving customers and working out the correct change during his time at a boulangerie. He said: 'My range of vocabulary has improved dramatically. By mid-week I had a grasp of most of the products on sale. There was a certain lady who used to come in for her daily baguette and she'd try out her English on me!'
Daniela said: 'As the week progressed the radio station started throwing me into live interviews and they'd be actively involving asking what did I think on different subjects. It was so hard trying to a) keep on top of what they were actually saying and what was going on and b) being able to come back with something that didn't sound stupid!'
The Year 13 group consisted of Reka Hollos, Naomi Charles, Donald Goodjohn and Ruth Shrimpling, all of whom had been on the trip before. They worked in a nursing home, boutique, cyber café and café bar respectively. The most difficult obstacle they had to overcome was that many of the older folk spoke only traditional Breton, which is as far removed from traditional French as English is from the Welsh language.
Tutor Nadege Price said: 'The French do like having students over on work experience and some places take more than one student.' The students choose where they would like to working, marking down three options on their forms before a work placement is assigned to them. More than just giving the students a taste of the language it also gave them an insight into the relaxed way of French life with leisurely mealtimes and a school menu which consisted of three courses, including mussels and a variety of cheese!