French Exchange Trip September 2013
Tuesday 17th September 2013 marked the beginning of the French department's exchange programme with Lycée Notre Dame de la Providence in Avranches, Normandy. 22 French students (aged 16-17) accompanied by Mr Raymond O'Donnell ( a native of Derry) and Mme Marie Legrand spent a week in Derry hosted by families of Yr 12, Yr 13 and Yr 14 Lumen Christi College pupils.
Day 1: French students spent the day with their host correspondent in school. They attended classes and got a taste of school life at Lumen Christi College. They particularly liked the idea of wearing a school uniform, the shorter school day (in Avranches classes begin at 8am and can continue to 6pm), the rapport between students and teachers and the quality of the canteen food! In the evening, students were treated to a Cultural Evening of Irish music and dance kindly organised by Mrs Carlisle and Mrs Tinney. The evening's entertainment was opened with a selection of Irish songs performed by some of the school's talented musicians; Niamh Higgins, Blanaid Barr, Megan Owens, Eimear Long and Sara Loughlin. This was followed by an Irish dance display performed by Shannon Young, Luke Bonner and Mrs Carlisle. It was then time for both French and Irish students to get to their feet! Mrs Tinney led us in a selection of group dances, popularised at the school ceili. A great night's entertainment was had- craic agus ceol!
Day 2: Both French and host students spent the day at the Ulster American Folk Park. Mr O'Donnell and Miss Mc Menamin acted as official tour guides, providing the necessary translation where needed! Thursday evening was spent putting our bowling skills to the test at Brunswick Superbowl. Many students ended the soiree with a visit to the cinema to catch the latest horror film. A few scared students that night!!
Day 3: The French students spent the day taking in the historic sights of Derry. Mr Tom Costigan, a former History teacher at St Columb's College kindly volunteered to act as historic tour guide for the day. Visits included the recently uncovered remains located at the Bishop Street car park site, St Columb's Cathedral, the recently refurbished Guildhall, an Orange Lodge, and culminated in a walk across the city's Peace Bridge. Tired feet but well worth it!
Day 4: French students spent the day with their host families. Some organised a shopping trip to Belfast, other activities included visits to Malin Head and a surfing lesson!
Day 5: Both French and host students spent the day at the Giant's Causeway. The sun shone which made the scenery and coastal views all the more spectacular. The highlight of the day was the walk across the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. Luck was on our side and the wind stayed at bay, although a few zealous students jumping up and down on the bridge did nothing to settle the nerves of some of the more faint-hearted!
Day 6: The French students took advantage of the proximity of Lisfannon beach and the Irish good weather to blow away the cobwebs! The afternoon was spent in town spending the last of their pennies and stocking up on a few final souvenirs.
The farewell meal was hosted by the school's canteen and coordinated by Mr Chris Rodgers (school chef). Pupils ate well and enjoyed the craic - a fitting end to a fabulous week.
Strong friendships have now been formed and our students are looking forward to travelling to France in February 2014 on the return leg of the exchange. Part of the itinerary includes a visit to the infamous Mont St Michel and a tour of the historic town of Avranches.