Woodhouse College
Alica Derome Rebecca Saul

Student's-eye view of Lille

Dated: 15 March 2018

Soraya (centre) and friends outside Opéra de Lille 
Last week, 22 French students from Woodhouse took the Eurostar train to Lille for a three-night stay in the city. Keen French student and videographer, Soraya Siregar shared her thoughts and incredibly watchable series of personal video travelogues with us…
Arriving by Eurostar in rain soaked Lille... 
"I thought studying French would be too difficult at A level and wasn’t sure if I should take it, but it was one of my friends (who also went on the trip ) who actually told me in year 11 ‘You have to do French, you’re so good at it and you love it’ – and I picked it, and it was the best decision I ever made. I heard about the Paris trip last year and thought wow I’d really like to go on a French trip at Woodhouse.
I thought it was incredible trip, so great in many aspects – the social aspect, the learning aspect – and just seeing a place that I’d never been to before. And going on public transport was a nice refreshing way of discovering the city."
Soraya has posted a great set of video travelogues that give a real feel for the trip...
"I was pleasantly surprised by Lille and we got to really see a lot of the architecture of the city. The weather was terrible on the guided walking tour, I was soaked that day and very happy to get back to my hotel and hang up my coat, but the trip itself was very good, and the lady tour guide was very clear and spoke very slowly – and I enjoyed the walking."
A rain soaked walking tour 
Each morning of the trip, students walked (and trammed) across Lille town centre to Lil'Langues - a language school that ran tailor-made two-hour sessions for them every day.
"I really enjoyed the languages lessons because they were so closely linked to the stuff we are studying in class. It was a valuable resource to back up what I know, and I’ll use what we learnt in my exams. I think everyone enjoyed the lessons, they were very discussion based and interesting. Without a textbook there we really had to be on our toes and come up with our own ideas and it definitely improved my French.
More than just improving my skills it was also the confidence the trip gave me, to actually speak French to people. I spoke mainly to the teacher there but also in restaurants when you ordered. You’d be surprised how few English speakers there are there, so they do want you to respond in French. I mostly got the food that I wanted…
The second half of day two included a trip to the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille (Lille Palace of Fine Arts is a municipal museum dedicated to fine arts, modern art, and antiquities. It is one of the largest art museums in France) and a trip to the cinema to see a film in French.
"The art museums were perfect for me I love museums, they were really interesting. I really loved the building of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille – it was huge and really beautiful. I definitely made new friends. From my class there were only about 5 of us and the other 15 or so were from different classes, so it was great to find out that there were other French students that were really interested in French. I’m quite close with some of the new friends now.
I did not expect so much freedom the teachers and really respect that they were prepared to trust us. Even going to restaurants, we had the choice to pick where we went to eat and even after the cinema trip (Black Panther – dubbed into French!) we were allowed to explore the area in the evening, in small groups."
 Day three involved a trip a little further afield - via metro and bus -
to the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art (LaM).
The students ended their day at a large shopping mall (always a popular destination) where they went to eat and buy gifts.
"I’d really recommend the trip and give it 10 out of 10 – if there is another trip next year, I’m going to have to try and get on it! A level French is definitely a step up from GCSE but I feel so assured with the teachers that we have here and also the equipment – we have a special languages lab with headphones and stuff, it very cool and I was very attracted to that when I chose Woodhouse. We also have a native French speaking assistant, who we visit every week for half an hour, which is incredibly useful, and the teachers are always there to guide you.
Day four and the trip ended with a final lesson and a rain soaked trip around Lille Zoo.  
"A misconception about Woodhouse in general is that teachers don’t help you and I disagree with that completely – not true at all.  It’s a place where teachers don’t just push you to university, they push you towards a career that you want – which really appealed to me – they work around your individual needs. I knew that I didn’t want to be spoon-fed, I wanted to work hard and learn how to reach out to teachers and ask for help when I need it, that’s why I came to Woodhouse."
Many thanks to the teachers of the Lil' Langues school for providing such excellent classes for our students.

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