Year 9 Bayeux Exchange visit March 21st – 26th 2019
It was our biggest Bayeux Year 9 group ever this year, being welcomed into Cranbrook School for six days! The 27 students arrived to us after first stopping in Rye, where they familiarized themselves with the quaint southern England architecture and ambiance. They were quickly taken away by their excited Cranbrook partners and families and already had a lot to share with their teachers the next day.
In school, they toured around our Queen’s Hall, the Performing Arts Centre, the food tech and art rooms, the library and the gym. They had one lesson with their partners and one astronomy lesson in the Observatory before visiting Blubery and getting a flavour of boarding at Cranbrook. There is no doubt that they were impressed by our campus and facilities!
Before tutor time, they were informed about the very British House systems (I am grateful to Harry Potter for giving foreign students an idea of what it is like, sort of!), and many took part in the House Shout practices. They had their first school meal and then visited Sissinghurst Castle before picking up the Cranbrook students to go bowling in Tunbridge Wells. It was a busy first day that finished in the Goudhurst Inn, having been tasked to make as many pizzas and chips vanish from the buffet as possible. I must say, they all succeeded and left happy and full!
The weekend was very much in the hands of the host families, who organised many fun things for our guests to experience. I heard of trips to London; Wembley Stadium, the London Eye, the Globe, Camden market, the Science Museum, St Paul’s, Borough market, the Tate, Soho… Others went to Brighton, Canterbury, Hastings, Battle, and Rye, to visit the beaches. Some visited aquariums, lambing farms, went mini-golfing or trampolining, skating or mountain biking, walking or shopping. Cakes were baked, games played, films watched and a party organised. They ate English breakfasts and drank cream teas. They had so much to tell and share, and not a minute to get bored!
The students spent Monday exploring the touristic London sites, blessed by beautiful spring sunshine to picnic in St James’ Park and returned to Cranbrook with many visual memories of the capital. On their last day, we treated them to a school full English breakfast (devoured!) before giving them a chance to compare the bargains in the Hawkhurst supermarkets, visit the windmill and St Dunstan’s church, and explore the British children’s classics in the town library. One last school meal and it was time to say au revoir. Where did the time go!?
It was such a full six days, and all the students said how welcomed they felt in Cranbrook, how much fun was laid out for them, how great the food was, and even how the weather was on their side! The success of an exchange rests largely on organisation, but at the end of the day, it is all about the fantastic time each family gave the French students. For many of them, it was their first visit abroad, and I am convinced they will keep many fond memories of this exchange and will keep wanting to learn and practise their English back in class at home.
So my heartfelt thanks go to all the students who signed up for this exchange and to their amazing families for making such a positive impact on these young French people! It will be our turn to join them in Bayeux in May; something to look forward to in the coming weeks!
Merci encore à tous! Mme Lavigne-Kidney