Exchange Progam with France – June 2016 with our partner school in France & India.
Frehindi Education P Ltd in association with BASAVA International School & Collège Salvador Allende Rezé organised an Eight days Ecological & cultual exchange program as part of the ISA Project in June 2016.
The real exchange started about 2 years back as penpals cum e-mail exchange between students of Mrs. Hélène Ernoul from Collège Salvador Allende & students of Mr. Haru MEHRA at various partner schools in India including BASAVA International School & Greensfields Public School which soon graduated to Skype exchange followed by an interest in the Indian studnets to visit their French friends in France on a self funded exchange cum tour to France.
We landed on 8th June 2016 at around 3 pm at Paris & immediatley took the Fastest Train in France namely TGV to Nantes where at around 7 pm our friend & local contact Ms. Léna & Mr. Joshua John were waiting for us with their 2 years old lovely daughter Sophia.
Once we checked in our apartment we could not wait for the next big day where we were supposed to visit the French School. All students and teachers after a quick dinner slept early to catch an early morning tram to our partner school in Nantes.
We reached Collège Salvador Allende Rezé at around 10:30 in morning – Slighltly late while taking directions from locals to reach the school.
Once we were off the tram we found ourself right in front of the school where the Principal of Collège Salvador Allende, Mr Chouquet, science teacher Mrs Gullion Brigitte & english teacher Ms. Lenancker along with all the French students who were part of this exchange were already lined up at the gate of the school to give us a warm welcome.
After the initial greetings & introductions Mr.Chouquet led all the Indian & French students to the office of the Mayor of Rezé.
Along the way madame Brigitte- The science teacher acted as guide to us along the way & described us about a huge residential building which we found on our way to the mayor’s office. This building was designed by Swiss-French Architect Le Corbusier who was also the Architect of Chandigarh.The USP of the building was that it was designed to be self sufficient in its energy needs as the design allowed all the individual apartments of this huge building to be supplemented by natural sun light, hardly needing any electricity.
Once at the Mayor’s office we were in a hall where Students were addresed by the mayor of Rezé Mr. Gérard Allard who emphasized on the importance of exchange & Indo-French friendship. The principal Mr. Chouquet spoke about taking the exchange further with Le Frehindi. Mr. Haru MEHRA bought forward in his address to both French & Indian students of the benefits of an exchange program in a globalized world. Post the address by the dignitaries, gifts & cards were exchanged between students of both the countries. The Mayor also invited all present to fresh fruit drinks and choicest of snacks including some of the famous biscuits of Nantes. The Indian teachers too exchanged gifts with their French counterparts. The event ended with Indian sweets distributed to all the students & teachers followed by many group photographs at the mayor’s office.
After the welcome event at Mayor’s office Mr. Chouquet led us back to the school & by this time the ice had already started breaking and students of both the countries started chatting with each other in groups.
Once back at school it was lunch time and students of both the countries went to the huge canteen to have their lunch along with teachers. It was the 1st time for the Indian students who had a taste of the French cusine inside a French school. They were amazed by the professional manner in which the whole canteen was managed right from picking up plates to giving the plates back at the dishwashing area to an eversmiling & helpful staff of the canteen.
Post lunch the the Indian teachers and students were split where the students went to experience the live English class of Mrs. Le Corff while the teachers were taken on a round of the school by Mrs. Hélène Ernoul where the whole education system, grading system & facilities were compared & discussed.
After our tour of the school there was a joint session of students & teachers for the 9th graders where the French students were asked to pose questions on India which was replied by Mr. Haru MEHRA; helped by the Indian students. Once the questionnaire got over the Indian kids sang bollywood songs on which students of both the contries danced while having a lot of fun.
The last session was kept for the sharing the joint project on Ecology where River Ganga from India & River Seine from France was the topic of our study and crtitical analysis on human impact of polluted rivers. After a brief intrducation & interacation with a new group of french students who worked on this project the studnets of the Indian school i.e Basava Inernational School gave Presentation on water treatment plant at their school & excnaged scrap book on on many aspects of pollution & it’s adverse affect on India, which was also part of their ISA Project. The whole exchange was recorded and pictures taken by the Indian teachers which was required to be submitted as evidence of collobrative exchange back in India as part of the ISA project. This was followed by the presentation by the French students on Ecology and their recent observation of a field trip to an ecological park. At the end of the presentation by both the studnets Mr. Haru MEHRA addressed the students with an insightful detailed importance of preserving the Eco-system and how both the schools can work forward to continue the excnage for many years to come on various topics of mutual concern. The French students shared hand made cards which were crafted by the them as parting gifts to this wonderful exchange organized by Frehindi Education P Ltd in association with BASAVA International Sschool & Collège Salvador Allende Rezé.
Once back at our appartment after a warm send off by the Principal Mr. Choquet the studnets were awae stuck with the amount of learning and fun they had with their French counterparts.
Our next few days went touring Nantes where the students particularely liked the Les Machines de l’île but the best part was our visit to Normandy where the gigantic Mont Saint-Michel captured the heart & imagination of each and every student as well as teachers.
Our séjour en France was not final without our two day trip to Paris which was like icing on the cake for the students. The visit to Paris was incomplete without the visit to the famous monuments like Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe etc. & Streets like Champs Elysees. This was the time for shopping and buying some souvenirs for friends & parents back home.
Here are some of the pictures of our visit to Tour Eiffel which coincidentally coincided with the Euro cup being organized in France and we got to the flavor of same everywhere in Paris right inside the fans crowded metro to the electrifying football atmosphere everywhere in Paris.
It was one of the most memorable exchange programs for the students and teachers alike and everyone wowed to return to France next year.
We are proud that the success of this exchange program was reported at a leading newspaper “Ouest-France” in France.