Woodhouse College
Alica Derome Rebecca Saul

A Lille story by Sama

Dated: 29 March 2019

Sama (centre) 
 
A level French student Sama shares her diary of the recent French trip to Lille... 
 
"Our trip to Lille began on Wednesday the 13th of march, with a total of 15 students all taking a two-hour Eurostar train journey into the wonderful city of Lille. As we sat, anticipating the events of the forthcoming week, there was a tangible sense of subdued excitement, both anxious to speak French to natives yet simultaneously curious to discover the culture.
 
 
 
 
The weather was less than ideal for a walking tour...
 
Upon our arrival, there was little time for rest, for there was a city to be explored. The weather was not on our side, and as the French would say, it was raining ropes, yet we wouldn’t let that discourage us. We were taken around old Lille on a walking tour with our wonderful tour guide, obviously narrating everything in French to help improve our listening skills. When looking around, one could see the blending of different architectural eras which illustrated the rich history of the town, and we couldn’t wait to explore further the next few days.
 
 
A Lil' Langues class 
 
Awakening from the previous day, slightly tired and haggard, we prepared for our morning french lessons at the Lil’ Langues centre, where we were able to improve our French skills further through interactive and engaging games. Needless to say, the instructors were incredibly kind and understanding, and would stop to explain when we didn’t understand something. The topics that were explored in these sessions ranged from a narration of our lives through images, to marital structures throughout the years and even an analysis of one of Stromae’s songs.
 
 
 Inside Le Palais des Beaux Arts
 
That afternoon, we visited Le Palais des Beaux Arts - an art museum - which housed all kinds of captivating oeuvres ranging from sculptures, to religious paintings, and paintings from the likes of Van Gogh, Cézanne and Monet.We were truly in awe of the size of the place and the impressive collection it had to show. Some of the more artistically inclined students even created their own artistic masterpieces through the medium of photography.
 
The same night, Ms Pari (Woodhouse Head of Languages) and five students (accidentally) attended the premier of the French film ‘Let’s dance’ which was an inspiring telling of the journey of dancers in their different styles. At the end, two of the main actors and the director came out to the front and had a Q&A session with the audience. If you listened closely, you could have heard the frantic whispering of five English girls trying to translate what was being said 'live' to each other.
 
A game of taboo... in French
 
Upon the second and final day of the lessons, there was a showdown between the two classes which we had been split into the prior day; a game of taboo... in French. It was a challenge that we tackled head on, with all our might.
 
After lessons, the weather had improved enough (though not much) to allow for a trip to the zoo, where we saw all kinds of creatures, big and small. Many took refuge in the snake house, for there was the warmth which we so desperately craved. However, nothing was comparable to the chorus of laughs elicited by the comical walking of the monkeys in between their leaps from tree to tree.
 
 
Outside the modernist HI Hostel Lille Stéphane Hessel where we stayed 
 
 
Le bowling 
 
The next day, our departure was imminent, yet we had quite a while before the trip back to London was to be made.
Firstly, we spent an hour at a local bowling alley playing a game of bowling...in which Pete (accompanying Woodhouse Marketing Manager) reigned champion. Then, we collected our bags from the hostel and went to the huge shopping centre just five minutes from the Eurostar station, making sure to spend what was left of our precious Euros. Many made purchases of souvenirs for their families and friends, others buying items for themselves or even treating themselves to a delicious crepe or waffle; an experience not to be missed when in France.
 
Finally, the time had arrived to return home, once again taking a two-hour train journey back to London. In and out of sleep, I could hear snippets of conversations all around me, and you could truly tell that many memories and bonds had been made during the trip. I know that for me, it will be cherished for a long time and I believe that many of the other students who came feel the same way.
 
Thank you to Ms Pari and Pete who accompanied us during the journey and put up with the disruption to their sleeping schedules that we created."
 


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