“An invaluable learning experience” – French Exchange

In early January of 2015, I headed to Paris for an entire year spent living as an exchange student in France. I was excited and a nervous wreck all at the same time. After only three days of orientation in Paris a group of equally excited exchange students and myself travelled by train to the different towns across France in which we would spend the next 11 months.

'Carnivale', which takes place in the south of France, is like a small performance where the local French people view it dressed in costume.

‘Carnivale’, which takes place in the south of France, is like a small performance where the local French people view it dressed in costume.

The four hour train ride from Paris to Dax, the small town which would soon become my new home, was time spent contemplating all the new challenges I would have to face in these upcoming months. What if my host family didn’t understand me? What if I didn’t understand them? How long will it take before I adjust to this new way of life? What would school be like? I had no doubt that it would be hard, but at the same time I was sure it would be a rewarding experience. I knew that the IB had prepared me well for these challenges and this experience has made me appreciate the emphasis put on the characteristics developed as a part of the IB Learner Profile.

Student exchange is about taking that risk and opening our minds to these new sorts of experiences. My exchange has been an invaluable learning experience. Whilst at first it seemed daunting, the immersion into the language and lifestyle, I had picked up the language and settled into my new life within the first three months. With the help of my host family and friends I achieved the goals I had set myself to challenge myself and improve my French.

1056995111QBrooke Smith
Year 11