Despite the long travel from Sweden to France, we woke up happy and excited to officially start our exchange week in Lyon. My correspondent and I rode the bus early in the morning to get to school, as did many of the other students. At the school entrance, there were two teachers checking the students’ bags, which apparently is something they do every day before letting the students into school.
We got a nice reception from the teachers and after that, we had breakfast together and mingled with all the jovial students in the school auditorium. After that, we walked around the school area. Their school has different houses for different subjects. Our part had only theoretical programs. The vocational programs study somewhere else, in a different building.
The best part of the day, according to me, was when we got to accompany the students to lessons to see what the school system is like. We attended a math lesson, a French lesson and a lesson in Social science, and you could really understand what the teachers said because they spoke clear French without any dialects. In the French lesson, we talked about the Realism and read an extract from a novel and answered questions about it. I even participated in the discussion by answering a question that the teacher asked, which made me extremely happy. It is all thanks to the good knowledge of French that I have acquired during my years at Ullvi.
There are some apparent differences between the Swedish school system and the French school system. Here in France, the teachers dominate the classroom, and the classes are very big. The teachers are less tolerant towards students arriving late and of course, there is a ban on mobile phones in the school. There are also breaks on given times during the day where you gather in the schoolyard and hang out with friends, but you have to carry all your things with you all day because there are no lockers. The school dining room is also different from ours. Here you have to pay to eat. The lunch consists of an entree, a main course, and dessert, and baguettes of course.
After lunch, it was time for some adventure. Together we walked towards an artificial lake, Le Grand Large, which was just a couple of minutes walk from the school. There we were split into three groups and we paddled canoe together and took a dip in the lake. The French students had baked cakes and brought fruit and other things that we could eat after the activities. After this we had no more planned activities, so the teachers went back, but we stayed by the lake and played games together, e.g. “the murdering game” and “the knot”, to get to know each other more and get a deeper understanding for one another. In other words, we had a very fun, intense, and most of all educational day.
/ Maryan Alatwan