This February half term, nine A Level French students threw themselves in at the deep end of learning languages for a week's French exchange involving four days of work experience across Marseille.

We left school early in the morning, each full of tentative excitement knowing that in a few hours we would be meeting our exchanges and their families for the first time. Upon landing, tension built and we went to the wonderful Lacordaire to wait for our exchanges to finish the school day, and go to discover where we would be living for the next week.

Following a quiet Friday night of greeting and present giving with our families, we reconvened on Saturday morning for a final few hours of speaking English with each other over a coffee and a croissant, and to take the ‘petit train’ to Notre-Dame de la Garde. Once our exchanges came out of Saturday morning school, we said goodbye to one another as for the most part we wouldn’t be seeing each other again for the rest of the week. The remainder of the weekend was spent visiting Marseille and the rest of Provence with our exchanges.

Monday morning meant the first day of work experience. Unfortunately for Joe this meant waking up at 5 in the morning for a long journey to the Lacordaire primary school. Contrastingly we were all envious when we heard that Ella’s day at the retirement only home began at 10:30 (hours after the rest of us). Calumn made an immediate impact at the pharmacy where he was working by leaning against an unprotected emergency stop button as he learnt the ropes, resulting in the building being plunged into darkness.

Over the next four days of work we grew more confident in our use of the language and by the end of our final day of work, as exhausted as we were, it felt more natural to be speaking French than English.

Friday morning was spent sitting in with our exchanges for three hours of lessons before it was time to say 'au revoir' and head back to the airport. The journey home was a chance for us all to share our stories and knowledge that we had gained over the past week: the most notable of these were told by Amiytha, and it is certainly safe to say that she comes backing from Marseille having seen all there was to see at the surgery that she worked in.

We now look forward to hosting our partners in June, and on behalf of all nine of us who traveled to Marseille I would like to thank both Mr Elliott and Mr Parkinson, along with the members of staff from Lacordaire, who helped organise this wonderful trip.