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Oct 072019

Studying French at Kuranui College early next year will give students an opportunity of a lifetime following the college’s first-ever reciprocal French exchange.

The exchange will see six students travel to New Zealand from the French College of Lestonnac in February to study at the college in South Wairaraapa. They will then return to Europe after studying for seven weeks to host six lucky students from Kuranui in their home town of Carignan-de-Bordeaux, in the south west of France.

Kuranui students will get the chance to meet their host siblings and practice their French while the students visit New Zealand during the summer term, before they are fully immersed in the French language and culture.

“Our six students will go back with them, with a stopover in Paris, and then they will spend seven weeks in the school in Bordeaux, so they will be fully immersed in French,” explained Kuranui’s Junior Dean, William Donaldson. “The only English they will speak will be in their English class.”

“It’s a big cultural shift, because the French education system is a bit different to ours. Although the school has a four-day week, it has a longer day, starting from 8:30am until about 5pm in the evening, but they will have a two-hour lunch break.”

The school in France is a private Catholic College for students between the ages of 11 and 15. A programme is already in place with colleges in Spain and Mexico, so Kuranui promises to be a great addition to the list of its international schools.

“The French system is very rigid in terms of curriculum, so they will have to do the equivalent of NCEA Level 1 English, Maths, Science and Physical Education,” said Donaldson.

“Anything such as the arts is considered extra-curricular, and there are clubs which the French students can get involved with, but they very much have to do that outside of their main studies. The visiting students are looking forward to being able to choose all of their classes, and being involved in mixing up the curriculum here at Kuranui.

“They are also looking forward to wearing a uniform, because they do not have to in France, where our students are looking forward to not wearing a uniform.”

“It has been quite a good task for our students, because they have had to do everything in French. They did their applications in French, and also received all of the information from their host families in French. They are having to translate that information into English for their parents, which is quite cool,” added Donaldson.

French Exchange Students

Assistant Principal William Donaldson with French exchange students Aimee Clouston, Meg Hunter, Sorcha O’Donoghue, Emma Hyman, Isla Richardson, Lola Armstrong