The French department at Peter Symonds College is about to hold its annual trip to the city of Nice. 

The Winchester college has a large modern foreign languages department, offering the study of French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Some French students in the Lower Sixth (Year 12) are a month away from flying to Nice in the south of France for six days, as an opportunity to immerse themselves in a fully French environment and widen their language skills going into their final year at the college.

The students will also be visiting the local areas of Cannes, Antibes and Villefranche whilst on their study trip. 

Being immersed in this fully French environment offers many benefits for the students, in all elements of their course, through the core skills of listening and speaking in particular.

Sophie Budd, head of the French department at Peter Symonds, said: “It allows students to put into practice what they have learnt in the classroom, but also to experience the joys of communicating with different people. This is also a way for students to challenge themselves, get out of their comfort zone and see what they can achieve.” 

For almost an entire week, these students will be speaking French to those around them and receiving responses in French too, enabling them to adapt and improve the skills they have been learning at A-level for the past nine months.

The group of 36 students who are on the trip will be staying with host families in groups of two or three through the language school of Azurlingua.

They will also receive five mornings of language tuition with the native French speakers as a part of the trip, helping them to develop their skills even further.

Sophie said: “We always find that it has a great impact on students' motivation to study the language and they can also get some inspiration for the research project that they have to do for their oral exam. We have also noticed that it strengthens friendships between members of the group.” 

The French department chose Nice, as opposed to more stereotypical French trip locations, such as Paris, as of its cultural significance and its ideal size.

Sophie said: “Nice is a great city, rich in history with its link to Italy and great architecture. It is a big town, but still manageable for students and teachers alike. It is in the attractive south east of France and there are plenty of day trips that we can do from there, like Cannes and Antibes with the Picasso museum.

"It is great to see the students out of college in a different environment. Trips give us the opportunity to get to know a different side to them, that we may not otherwise get to know. And we can see how motivating they are, so they are worth the planning.”

  • This article was written by Olivia Wilks, from Peter Symonds College, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter Scheme.