Year 7 Trip to Normandy


The whole of Year 7 and nine members of staff travelled to the Normandy countryside for the week on Monday 26th June, leaving bright and early at 4.30am from Central Square. After a very pleasant ferry crossing from Poole to Cherbourg, we arrived at 'Château Beaumont' in time to go to our rooms, unpack, visit the site and have dinner. The idea of the week that has now been running for five years, is to immerse students in French culture, History and language, as well as engage in a number of fun adventure activities on site. These included zip wire, fencing, climbing, archery, and initiative exercises. We visited the wonderful Mont St Michel with a guided tour, and the old walled city of St Malo. The picturesque 13th century Vitré Castle with a guided tour was extremely interesting, and girls loved hearing our Historian guide's lovely French, which was simultaneously translated for them. A slightly rainy morning in an outdoor market allowed girls to practise their French and understand the stall holders while buying souvenirs.

The final day was spent commemorating the D-Day landings with the always emotive '360 Cinema' film at Arromanches. After lunch on the cliff top and a sunny run-around on the beach, we ended the trip visiting Omaha Beach American Cemetery, a very powerful and sobering experience.

Staff at the Château were fantastic and are always a mix of English and French nationals, who all speak two languages. They looked after us so well, and nothing was ever too much trouble. Every evening they also put on entertainment for the students, and the French night and Talent Show were highlights. HBS staff staged a show on the final evening which went down well, before we all showed off some of our moves at the disco!

Everyone had a great week, some of us teachers did the zip wire, Miss Fusi, Dr Amon and Mr Semsedini were often to be seen being highly competitive in basketball matches against 50 girls, and we all returned enriched.

Thank you to Year 7 for being so fun, interested, enthusiastic and embracing French and its culture and, of course, to my brilliant teacher team for helping me make it a seamlessly enjoyable week to remember!

P Haywood

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