Tuesday 22nd April 2008 by C. Freeman
Nine students put their language skills to the test on a week's work experience in France. The Year 12 students worked in schools, shops and a restaurant, and were expected to speak French as much as possible. They would definitely recommend the experience to other students as, despite the hard work, it made them converse in real life situations.
The students, Aaron Bourne, Rebecca Mee, Katherine Henderson, Avena Davis, Ivana Bilic, Emma Moss, Lauren Robinson, Georgia Watts and Laura Sawiak, all stayed in a converted mill near Pontivy in Brittany. Their working hours varied with some having two an a half hours for lunch while Aaron, who worked in the popular Restaurant Robic, only managed a quick half hour break.
Aaron said: ' I worked from 08:30 to 17:00 but because I am used to being at school it seemed like a lot longer. The restaurant was one of the best in town, we were very busy and it did take some time comprehending what people were saying.'
Teacher, Mrs Price said: ' I went to the restaurant one day just to check and it was extremely busy, so not only have you got the worry of the language and the pace of speaking, but also the 'busy-ness' of the place meant that you couldn't stop and think about it, you just had to get on with it.'
Avena and Rebecca worked in schools. Avena said: 'There were only about 70 children in the whole school and they were aged from two to 11. I was teaching them vocabulary and one day I had to teach them English in French which was really hard!'
Rebecca said: ' I enjoyed the job, I thought all the children were really friendly. I spent a day with each year group. With the 11 year olds I had them for English and with the two years olds it was basically just nursery rhymes so they were dancing round the floor.'
Katherine worked in a supermarket, stacking shelves and working on the tills. She said: 'Because I worked in a supermarket people kept coming up and asking me where things were so it was really difficult at first to understand. I had people talking to me constantly because they assumed I was French, so I really had to think about having to reply.'
Emma worked in a clothes shop. She really enjoyed her work placement and said: 'The best bit was all the people. I got on with everyone at the shop and met Lauren at the supermarket every day for lunch.'
After work the students had some free time to relax in the evening and they were even featured in the local paper as there had been a display of dancing, with the French doing Breton dancing and Rebecca Mee showing off her Irish dancing skills.
Mrs Price said: 'To speak French in real life situations is the perfect way to put into practice what the students learn in the classroom.'