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.
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.
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
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