The Modern Language Department Tours the Continent

During the Easter holidays, the Modern Languages Department fanned out to four European cities on cultural visits and residential exchanges.

From the French department, 20 pupils from the Third and Fourth Forms went to Orléans with pupils from the Saint-Charles School. Pupils were matched with a partner with whom they stayed for one week, spending time getting to know the families, local culture and of course practising their French. During the week their host families took them out to visit Paris, play sports, and visit sites in and around Orléans, including Chateau de Chambord. French school days with their counterparts were different enough to be a real eye-opener for the Oundle pupils.

The Paris trip included a record 31 Lower Sixth Form French language pupils. Highlights included a bespoke art history tour of the Montmartre neighbourhood with their local  guides Jean-Manuel and Alain, a visit to the Rodin museum, a fashion show and a “sneaky” visit to the Sorbonne law faculty. Along the way they somehow managed to “infiltrate” a railway workers’ demonstration – perhaps the most French experience of all. Their theatre evening was spent attending a play called ‘Les Faux British’. In the end the group was thanked for being ‘Les Vrais British!’.

Six Oundelians took part in this year’s Fourth Form German exchange to Hamburg. The link with this particular school is now into its second decade. The programme included visiting the historic city centre where the German exchange partners had prepared little presentations for every sight. Amongst them were St Michael’s cathedral, the town hall, the harbour and the old car tunnel underneath the river Elbe. The visit to Hamburg’s newest addition to its skyline, the impressive Elbphilharmonie building, was another highlight of the first day of sightseeing, where the view across the city and the harbor is breath-taking. The most exciting and impressive activity was the visit to a museum called ‘Dialog im Dunkeln’, where pupils experienced for an hour what it feels like to be blind – a truly fascinating experience. The exchange was once again a great success and our pupils can’t wait for their partners to come to Oundle later this term so that they can show them how they live and study here at School.

The Third Form trip to Spain began at Madrid’s most important statue El Oso y El Madrono, the iconic symbol of the city. From then on, Madrid did not disappoint, with trips to the splendid Royal Palace of Madrid, the botanical gardens, and the Almudena Cathedral. For many, the highlight was the tour of the Bernabeu, Real Madrid’s stadium, where they appreciated not only how much the Spanish love football, but also how good they are at it. The evenings were capped off with Spanish feasts, and on one night “the best sunset in Spain” by the Templo de Debod.