Fostering a love of language and culture lies at the heart of the MFL curriculum and at St. Brendan`s we believe that there is no better way of doing this than for our language A level students to experience this first hand.
International Exchange is integral to our Enrichment programme and the MFL Department works very hard to ensure that our students benefit from a wide range of intercultural activities during their course of study.
This year was no exception!
In the Autumn term, our Spanish A level students had the opportunity to visit two of southern Spain's most beautiful cities: Seville and Cordoba. In Seville, they visited beautiful landmarks such as the Cathedral and La Giralda tower. They explored the old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz and Seville`s royal palaces. During a two-hour walking tour of the city, they had time to enjoy the beautiful monuments and explore the shopping districts. Later on, they also had the opportunity to visit the great Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba – a monument which is a chronicle of a long history. Their stay in southern Spain brought the Spanish curriculum to life and made it applicable to the real world. The students had a great time enriching their knowledge of Spanish history, architecture, art and culture whilst practising their Spanish!
Our French A level students visited Paris in the second week of February this year. During their stay, they visited iconic landmarks in this beautiful city such as the Eiffel Tower, the Opéra Garnier, the neighbourhood of Montmartre with its cobbled streets, stunning basilica, artists and bistros. The students also visited the Louvre Museum, a central landmark of this city and they rounded off their trip with a Cruise on the river Seine. It was a wonderful opportunity for our French A level students to experience the French language and culture first hand. They all loved the French cuisine and were so proud to be able to practise their French!
Through the Pasch network this year, German students had the opportunity to start a partnership with a grammar school in south-west Germany – Albertus Magnus Gymnasium in Bensberg close to Cologne. The partnership started off by a visit by our German counterparts, who visited us in the second week of February. The German young people were accompanied by two of their teachers and were hosted by our German A level and Goethe-Zertifikat B1 students. Apart from getting to know and explore the beautiful city of Bristol, the German young people had the opportunity to accompany their hosts to lessons in College. During this week, we also had the pleasure to host one of our St. Brendan`s alumni, Ms Julia Seroka, who is currently studying German and Psychology at Bristol University. Julia came over to talk to all German learners and their german friends about the opportunities available through the Pasch network. Since then our students have been in constant communication with their new friends and are very much looking forward to visiting them later on this year. We are all looking forward to seeing this partnership grow and will be visiting our German friends in November this year.
Spending a week with a foreign exchange student, and welcoming them into my home, taught me a lot about cultural differences and to what extent European countries are better than England in terms of teaching foreign languages. Having the option to attend weekend, day and evening events meant that I could be included, and I had a lot of fun exploring Bristol and Bath from a new perspective.
I found the German exchange really enjoyable, as I made some amazing friends (both German and English). I also explored some places in Bristol for the first time, like the Bristol Museum, Watershed, which I probably wouldn't have otherwise. I hope to stay in touch with my exchange student and the others, and am very excited to go in November.