Indo- French Exchange
In the early hours of Sunday the 17th of May 2016, an enthusiastic group of 28 students embarked on a journey that would be etched in their memory forever. The students, escorted by two teachers were visiting France for a two-week cultural exchange program with the school ‘Cité Scolaire Saint Exupéry Ecole’ in Bourg St Maurice situated in the Rhone-Alps region in France.
The students received a warm welcome by the French families at Geneva airport, as they were driven to their French homes in small homely towns in the Alps region. School being closed during the first week of their stay, the students spent quality time with the families experiencing their culture and lifestyle. Various trips and activities were planned by the families and the school. Visits to the ski resorts such as Les Arcs and La Plagne, truly a thrilling experience where the similie ‘as white as snow’ was understood in all its pristine beauty. Students frolicked in snowball fights and soaked in the picturesque views of the Alpine mountains and valleys. They also visited the cities of Annecy, Chambery and Lyon to further explore the French culture, lifestyle and the rich history of these cities interspersed with shopping. They went trekking and played in the parks and open grounds, learning new games and strengthening their bonds of friendship.
During the second week of their stay, the students got an exposure to the school life in France, their education system and their vastly different routines. The welcome by the Mayor of Bourg St Maurice on the first day of school was an awe-inspiring event.
In school they learnt about French music and dances and were introduced to French sports. They interacted with other students and teachers and answered their queries about India with pride. Unbreakable bonds were formed between the students from India and their French counterparts through a potpourri of activities like trekking, rafting, snowball fights, treasure hunt, a DJ, flash mob Bollywood dancing in school as well as through day excursions and more picnics.
The Indian students showcased Indian culture and heritage through their presentation of Indian songs, dances, both classical as well as Bollywood and through a comprehensive power point presentation highlighting our incredible India during the cultural evening, which was appreciated by one and all.
Frequent articles about the visit were covered in print media over the duration of the two weeks, and students received warm smiles and cries of “Bonjour!” wherever they went, making them feel like mini celebrities.
With heavy hearts and tearful eyes they said goodbye to their partners at Lyon with joyful anticipation to meet them in October for the second leg of the exchange.
………..the excitement wasn’t over…there was more in store! Yes the four day trip to Paris which was again filled with fun, excitement and learning. The 1000m high Eiffel tower, making them masters of all they surveyed, the Musee du Louvre, Cruise on the River Seine, Arc de Triomphe, Palais de Versailles, Montmartre, Notre Dame de Paris, Champs Elysees culminating in the fantasy world of Euro Disney which brought the child alive in them.
The trip to France was indeed a kaleidoscope of thrills, life skills and experiential learning. A Big Thank You to our Principal Ms. Aditi Misra, for creating opportunities for her students to make them global citizens of tomorrow.