Noumea, New Caledonia French Immersion Study Tour


​Over the June-July holidays, 22 students and 3 teachers embarked on a 2-hour ride across the Pacific Ocean to visit New Caledonia for 10 days. Excitement was bubbling amongst the travellers as we headed to an immersive experience into a new culture, but little did we know what we were in for; a place that would provide us with memories and knowledge that we would cherish for the rest of our lives.

A piece of France was awaiting us. We were travelling to both the known and the unknown. As we arrived in Noumea, we were immediately surrounded by the French language. It was almost like our brains were on overdrive, hyperaware of everything around us. Looking back, this proved to be supremely beneficial, though scary, as two days later we would be staying with host families and living the lives of locals.

Our first immersive French lesson was on the Friday. We are so grateful to the teachers who led these lessons, held at the Institute Voltaire. The four lessons we attended were interactive, enjoyable and allowed us to be actively assisted with our French while reconnecting with our peers during our homestays. The tasks we were given were unlike anything we had done at school before. We were challenged with real-life scenarios and Elena even wrote a play with her class! An example real life situation was bestowed as on the last day of lessons, we were tasked with going to the markets and speaking to locals to order fruits so that we could make a fruit salad.

The homestay experience itself was different for each individual. For example, Elena’s homestay was a boat home and Ruby’s was in the suburbs on a steep, steep hill. However, one convergence across all of the homestay experiences was that we all made connections with a new famille and were welcomed in such a way that it made us feel connected to Noumea and the everyday-life of the locals, rather than the blaringly obvious tourists that we were while staying in the hotel.

After our lessons in the city, we would go to different locations around the island where we submerged ourselves in the intricate and diverse culture of New Caledonia. On the Tuesday, we went to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre. We were lucky enough to have a tour guide, George, take us around the grounds and explain to us the beginning of the story when it comes to the unique blend of culture in New Caledonia. This blend was made up of many cultures and included Melanesian, Polynesian and French as the dominating three.

This is the briefest of snapshots of our ten-day trip which for us, transformed our view of the French language and expanded our minds. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Madame Daines, Monsieur McKinven and Ms Freeman for coming with us and for all of the work and time that was put into the organisation of this trip. So many memories were made, so many new things learnt and so many photographs were taken. It was unforgettable!

...article written by Ruby Thompson and Elena Josipovic

Back to news feed
Last reviewed 03 September 2019
Last updated 03 September 2019