A classroom like no other
Four young Bermudians will taste the wonders of the French Riviera this summer thanks to a local French language and cultural programme
By Jessie Moniz Hardy
L'Alliance Française des Bermudes annually selects students to study French during the summer months in France or French speaking regions.
This year the organisation sent Sarah Czarnecki from Saltus Grammar School, Sabriyya Harvey from Warwick Academy, Hanna Bushara from Somersfield Academy, and Jahmai Small from CedarBridge Academy to Cannes on the French Riviera.
“On Saturday, at the airport we waved goodbye to our four students,” said says Alexandra Amat, the coordinator for the programme. “They were all very excited about the trip and anxious to meet their host families.”
At the international language school Centre International d'Antibes, the students are assessed on the first day and grouped in different classes so they have the opportunity to learn at their own level.
They take formal language classes three hours each day but learning takes place throughout the day.
The French hosts families take in two or three students, normally from different countries, and friendship rapidly develop with French being the ‘common language'.”
While in Cannes the students will enjoy the warm hospitality of their French host families, sharing evening meals and excursions during the weekend.
The Bastille Day celebrations on July 14 are usually a highlight of the trip.
After Cannes, the trip concludes with a four day fun-packed adventure in the French capital of Paris.
“Three years ago we decided that a France experience would not be complete without a few days in Paris”, says Dr Amat. “The students will travel by train from Cannes to Paris, and we will all stay together in an apartment in the heart of the city”.
Students can expect a lot of walking and touring, lots of picture taken and lots of eating.
Dr Amat said students are in for a real treat: with visits to the Château de Versailles, the Louvre, the Musée d' Orsay and the Cluny Museum.
They will play real tourists hopping on and off the bus to experience the Champs Elysées' atmosphere, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower — no lift tickets were available but it seems everyone is up for some steps to get to the top.
“We were lucky to see the arrival of the Tour de France for the past two years and especially last year which was its 100th Anniversary,” said Dr Amat.
“They wowed us with a laser show on the Arc de Triomphe.
“We are one week too early this year but will make up with a pique-nique in Le Parc de Buttes Chaumont at sun down.
“Bistros and cafes will be our cantina and boulangeries, our breakfast haven.”
The Paris trip is an opportunity for students to hone their language skills outside the classroom.
Volunteer committee members escort the group every year.
The Christian Humann Foundation has been funding the education programme of l'Alliance Française des Bermudes since its start in 2000.
If you won't be lucky enough to spend Bastille Day in France, this year, you can join the French community in Bermuda on July 12 at a special garden party at Waterville in Paget.
There will be a traditional menu with steak and merguez, a cheese course and crêpes for dessert.
Tickets are $80 for members and $90 for non-members available at www.bermudatix.bm.