As in past years, students from the Languages department had the opportunity to do their work experience placements in Rouen in France and Salamanca in Spain during February half term. The placements included working in restaurants, nurseries, schools, a gym, and for the charity Oxfam.
This experience proved invaluable in improving their self-confidence as well as their command of a foreign language. Students had to communicate for the majority of the time in the language of the country and this ‘total immersion’ is a wonderful way of preparing for AS and A2 language exams.
As well as learning a lot, students were also able to match their placement to their own interests. For example one student interested in music was offered a place in a small CD shop in the very centre of Salamanca.
The responses from all the students were glowing. One of the students who visited Rouen said;
“It was exciting to meet new people who were also passionate about learning French. I was working in a nursery with toddlers. It was a fantastic experience and talking to my new colleagues was a brilliant way to practise my French. I feel much more confidence about speaking French especially as I was able to appreciate the culture and cuisine of France at the same time.”
Another welcomed the opportunities to socialise saying, “After work we would often go to restaurants or attend activities we had planned by our coordinator. Whilst being there, you truly felt like an adult, and part of the city.”
The opportunities for improving language skills and learning about other cultures didn’t end there though, as over the Easter break, Mrs Gonzales Latham accompanied by Mr Javed and Miss Case took 21 students on a 10 day study trip to Granada in Spain.
They enjoyed an astonishing range of activities throughout the week including watching a Flamenco Show, Salsa Dancing, Tapas tasting, a treasure hunt, a tour of Granada and the Alhambra palace, a visit to the Cathedral and Royal chapel and trips to the Science Park and Costa Tropical. They also enjoyed a tour of Malaga and watched the Easter processions. One of the most exciting events was watching Granada beat Barcelona in a football league match – the first time for 47 years.
Incredibly, as well as all these activities, they also attended Spanish lessons every morning and spent a day in a Spanish High school in order to meet their Spanish e-pals. By playing sports in P.E. and attending other lessons such as Greek and Biology, students also learned about the main differences between education systems in both countries.
Living with host families allowed the students to develop a better understanding of Spanish culture as well as building relationships with Spanish citizens.
Once again the students voted the trip a resounding success with comments such as;
“It was a remarkable and unforgettable trip”
“We didn’t stop but it was worth it. The monuments and places we visited were astonishing, particularly the Alhambra Palace”
The teachers also enjoyed themselves saying: “A lot of hard work and enthusiasm went into the organisation of the trip, which led to an authentic experience for everyone lucky enough to be on it.”