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One month in Bretagne (Saint Nazaire)
2019.06.26.
Travelogue of Lilla André
6 other students and me from Bornemisza have recently arrived home from Bretagne, France. We are part of this year’s French-Hungarian exchange program.

Three of us decided to apply for the exchange program to a private catholic school in Saint-Nazaire, a town situated right next to the Atlantic Ocean in west France. There are 4 more Hungarian students and they stayed in Guérande (a little town approximately 1 hour away from Saint-Nazaire). So, if you haven’t really heard about this program, we’re here to tell you all about it.

We have stayed in Saint-Nazaire for one month and we lived with our exchange partners’ families. We attended school like normal students with some changes in our timetables. Of course life wasn’t all about school, our host families did their best to show us around the region they live in. In my host family, we mainly went on tours and sight- seeing programs on the weekends and Friday afternoons. Luckily we had a sort of holiday week which normally would’ve been a special week for the French students (they had to try working in companies) but the ones participating in the exchange program had this time off, which opened up lots of free time for us. I’ve seen many parts of Bretagne and a bit of Normandie. We’ve visited the Mont Saint-Michel and there is actually a debate over whether the island-castle belongs to Bretagne or Normandie since it’s kind of on the border. We’ve visited Cancale and Saint-Malo which was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen during my time in France. We’ve tried lots of great French food and seen many other great places like Nantes, which was the capital of Bretagne.

In school, we had to try and participate in school-life as much as we could which wasn’t easy but I personally enjoyed it very much. The school system is pretty different from ours. High school takes only 3 years while in Hungary it’s four or five. They have scientific, art and economy classes. Their school days are usually longer than ours, one lesson is 55 minutes long and they sometimes finish around 6 PM. Every week, they have a special lesson for every class in the same year (we were in sophomore) and it’s called European Section. The teachers speak English and we usually had a girl from London in these classes called Georgie. She is a language assistant in Notre Dame (the high school) and her duty is to help students improve their English skills. There were other language assistants from Germany, Spain and China I believe.

School life is really different too they are generally very active in student organisations and charity. We had the chance to see a school organisation’s meeting ran by terminale (senior) students and their overall project is to make the school more eco-friendly. During the time we were there they organised a protest against pollution and we wore white ribbons around our right arms to show that we are a part of the movement.

We didn’t have write tests in the French classes but we had to try and keep up with all the stuff we would normally learn in Hungary so we didn’t miss an entire month. We had a few lessons in our timetables called Library which meant that we could go in the library and catch up with studying.

Of course in school the main goal for us was to speak French which ended up to be a big mixture of English and French. One of us is learning German as her 2nd language so of course she was speaking English mostly. I’ve been learning French for almost two years now so communication wasn’t easy especially with teenagers. Although, my language skills in French are far from perfect I did learn and pick up many things and also this program was a great inspiration for me to push myself and learn French as best as I can. We came back to Hungary on the 30th March and our exchange pairs are coming on the 14th April so the program is not over yet. I recommend this exchange program from the bottom of my heart to everyone who is opened to new cultures, wants to travel, make friends and practice their language skills. I loved being in France and honestly I hope I can go back one day to discover more. We all made really good friends and benefitted a lot.

Lilla André
Publikálta: Csaba Zsolt
© 2010 Bornemisza Péter Gimnázium