Last week, I took 11 of my students to Paris after many months of organisation and preparation. Among my students were some from my Edinburgh classes and others from my online classes from elsewhere in the world.
I wanted to give them the opportunity to discover the Paris that I love far from the hustle and bustle of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.
However, my main objectives were to expand their cultural knowledge, put their learning in a real-life context, encourage them to communicate in French with Parisians but also with one another and build up their confidence.
Last weekend we had our long awaited and carefully planned weekend in Paris with Estelle. It turned out to be a marvellous weekend for cultural events, fine meals, a fair amount of walking and a lot of chat, laughter and some hilarious encounters with charming Parisians.
This was a wonderful weekend, with so much packed into it. As a group we got on well. In the shops and cafes we made efforts to speak French to the assistants and waiters, and for me, it encouraged me to persist in studying the French language.
We were very lucky with the weather and enjoyed two beautiful walks. We ate some traditional food and some less traditional. We visited the Picasso museum but also a rather unusual exhibition at the Atelier des lumières - an amazing sound and light show of Van Gogh art pieces.
Finally, we finished with a wonderful performance of the play we had previously studied : La Cantatrice Chauve by Ionesco.
This was a total pleasure! I think it was an insight into how Parisiens live & spend their free time. We visited museums & venues with thought-provoking art, sites of cultural & religious significance, watched live theatre, sampled unique cakes & ate delicious food the whole time. It was my delight to participate in the guided walking tour and impromptu meetings in outdoor settings.
Everything was beautifully orchestrated by Estelle. The detailed itinerary allowed people to choose what to participate in and join the group later should they wish. Activities effortlessly segue-wayed to the next with plenty time for fun and laughter together. Estelle thoughtfully considered my mobility issues so I was able to participate fully. Thank you so much Estelle for an unforgettable trip.
Travelling with my students has been a wonderful experience. It created a real sense of community allowing us to build even better relationships with one another and making everyone feel included. I will now be able to create even more online experiences where they can work together to improve their French skills and make better progress.