S3 French Exchange
The last French Exchange visit to Gacé was once again a great success. The group was accorded its traditional warm welcome with pupils and staff being looked after extremely well by their host families, not least at mealtimes! In an activity-filled week, pupils visited their partners’ schools; explored the town of Gacé on a fact-finding quiz; visited a major cheese producing factory; learned how to make French chocolates; climbed the Eiffel Tower, sailed along the Seine and did a spot of shopping on a day-trip to Paris. In a specially-arranged Friday night soirée for all staff, pupils and host families, our pupils were invited to partake in a sumptuous buffet consisting of traditional Normandy dishes and, in return, took the initiative in demonstrating a variety of Scottish dances to their French hosts who were quick to join us on the dance floor.
At the weekend, pupils were taken by their families to local tourist attractions such as the famous racehorse stud farm at Haras du Pin and the Mont St-Michel. Some pupils went swimming; others went bowling; and all were treated to even more delicious food as families got together to spend time around the dinner table.
More recently, our own pupils had the opportunity to host their French Exchange partners. 26 pupils from Collège Jean Moulin and their teachers were provided with a varied programme of activities which included a day in school with experiences in Modern Languages and PE; day trips to St Andrews and Edinburgh; a guided nature visit to Vane Farm and Loch Leven; a curling session courtesy of Kinross Curling Club; and a Friday night ceilidh complete with a superb buffet provided by the host families and live music by a local folk group.
A few tears were shed as goodbyes were said on the final morning but we know that many of the friendships that have been formed as a result of this exchange will be maintained via email, phone calls and social media, and many of our pupils are already looking forward to planning a return visit to Gacé in the not too distant future! Planning is underway for what will be the 30th anniversary of Kinross High School’s French Exchange which, of course, arose out of the Kinross-Gacé town-twinning that was established in 1975 and which, over the years, has allowed hundreds of Kinross-shire residents to travel to Normandy, host French families here in Scotland and forge friendships and alliances which, as many will know, continue to thrive. Vive l’Entente Cordiale et vivent les échanges!