After six weeks in France, we left our host sisters, who are now lifelong friends and family, at Nice airport mid January.
Six weeks seemed exciting yet daunting as we left Dunedin, but it quickly proved to be the quickest most fulfilling six weeks of our lives. Now, we can only reflect on the happy memories we shared and encourage anyone else considering this great opportunity to take it.
A majority of the exchange was based at the Centre International de Valbonne or CIV, our sister school. At times it was challenging for us because it was very different from Columba and the school day was so long, sometimes ending at 6pm. During lunch, we thoroughly enjoyed spending time at the cafes located near the school instead of bringing a packed lunch. This allowed us to get to know the other students also on this exchange from Australia and other parts of New Zealand.
A highlight for us was definitely the different people we met who were also on the exchange, and the friendships we made with the people in the same boat as us. As a group, we travelled to nearby cities like Antibes, Cannes, Biot, Nice and Monte Carlo and as we were on the south of France, it meant beautiful coastal views and being surrounded by the sea.
Being able to experience the everyday life of a French teen is an opportunity of a lifetime. Because of that, we recommend this exchange to anyone looking to experience something new, make friends for life and get out of their comfort zone. We are truly grateful to have spent six weeks in the beautiful country of France.
By Saffron Lai and Galina Mandich