Eighteen Logan Park, and five Bayfield students of French with staff, Barbara Fitzsimons, Rachel McDonald and Cheryll Walsh, had a wonderful 10 days in Noumea, New Caledonia in April this year.
Students benefited greatly from their three-hour daily immersion French lessons, immersion in French speaking homestays and they loved their teachers and homestay families! We also did wonderful excursions and visits to tourist spots with French speaking guides. Read on to hear what the students wrote about the trip!
Bonjour tout le monde ! We were split into three classes of varying levels and did three hours most days until lunchtime. All the teachers are qualified native tutors who provided a fantastic immersion experience to really help us improve our French.
First impressions of immersion French lessons
It’s a turquoise room and it doesn’t seem like a school. More like a room dressed like a tropical fruit. We enter, running from the cruelly unfamiliar sun, seeking refuge in this cool concrete “salle”. Sitting in rows, no one wants to speak at first, bombarded by a barrage of beautifully belittling French.
After three lessons
Malanie, the French teacher, has turned out to be “epoustouflante”; strict, loquacious and lovely. We debated cellphones and now have very strong opinions on the origins of cobalt - all to ameliorate our French of course. Mais bof, I love to love French class.
Tjibaou Cultural Centre Centre.
This excursion was focused on teaching us about more of the indigenous peoples of Noumea. We had great fun walking around with our guide, Georges, who spoke five languages. He taught us a few words in the native Kanak language and about their culture and cultural beliefs. We got to see massive traditional huts (cases), and watch a short video on how to make them. We were able to explore a souvenir shop and roll down a grassy hill (not well received by the people who suffer from hay fever, but still worth it!) I think it was all very eye-opening and a really enjoyable way to spend a sunny Tuesday afternoon. A big Oleti (thank-you) to our wonderfully tour guide and to the Tjibaou Centre!
Day trip to Amédée island
On the Wednesday we traveled to Amédée island on a super fancy boat. We were welcomed aboard by a ukulele trio who were able to play their instruments with unsettling finesse. It set a very cool ukulele-y mood as we ventured off. The island itself was gorgeous, and was filled with a bunch of wildlife (the most important, of course, being the snakes).
After we had finished gawking at our tiny serpentine friends, we got to go snorkeling through the coral. The water was unbelievably warm, and there was something to see in every direction. We got to swim with a bunch of insane looking water-beasts (I refuse to call them fish because one of them had a nose) and even got to watch turtles!! The whole time I felt like a big, awkward-looking sea creature. It was awesome.
We had a whale of a time on Amedee Island, captivated by all of the stunning marine life. We saw almost every marine animals except whales (so my previous pun is pretty redundant!) We explored this UNESCO marine lagoon reserve in a glass bottom boat, with a friendly tour guide.
We saw hundreds of fish, of various colours, patterns and sizes. They swarmed towards us when we fed them, fighting for the “bonne nourriture”. We were also fortunate to see some ginormous sea turtles, capable of holding their breathe underwater for six hours. C’est epoustouflant! We can also confirm from experience that the turtles are very slimy to touch. Dont, c’est clair que nous avons adoré notre temps à l’Ile Amédée.