July 1, 2014 at 1:48 p.m.

Four young students en route to France to study French

Four young students en route to France to study French
Four young students en route to France to study French

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Four young students sponsored by l’Alliance Française des Bermudes left the Island on Saturday, June 28, to study French for three weeks in Cannes, on the French Riviera. They were all very excited about the trip and anxious to meet their host families.

At the international language school, Centre International d’Antibes, the students are assessed on the first day and grouped in different classes so that they have the opportunity to learn at their own level.  They take formal language classes three hours each day but learning takes place throughout the day. The French host families take in two or three students, normally from different countries, and friendships rapidly develop with French being the “common language”.  Bermudian students enjoy the warm hospitality of the French families, sharing evening meals and excursions during the week-end, and after Cannes, the trip concludes with a four day, fun-packed adventure in the French capital. 

“Three years ago we decided that a French experience would not be complete without a few days in Paris”, says Alexandra Amat, the coordinator for the program. “The students will travel by train from Cannes to Paris, and we will all stay together in an apartment in the heart of the city”. 

With so much to enjoy, the students can expect a lot of walking and touring, lots of picture taking and lots of eating.  This year, the students are in for a real treat: History and Art will be honored with the Château de Versailles, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de Cluny. They will play real tourists hopping on and off the red bus to experience the Champs Elysées’ atmosphere, Notre Dame and the Eiffel. Then slightly off the beaten track with l’Institut du Monde Arabe, the Chocolate Factory and la Rue Mouffetard.

“We were lucky to see the arrival of the Tour de France for the past two years and especially last year which was its 100th Anniversary.  They wowed us with a laser show on the Arc de Triomphe!  We are one week too early this year but will make it up with a pique-nique in Le Parc des Buttes Chaumont at sun down. Bistros and Cafés will be our daily cantina and boulangeries our breakfast haven! “ says Amat.

The Paris trip gives our students the opportunity to hone their language skills “outside the classroom”, thanks to volunteer committee members willing to escort the student group every year.

Since its inception in 2000, The Christian Humann Foundation has been generously funding the education program of l’Alliance Française des Bermudes.  The newly elected president of l’Alliance, Audrey Smatt, urges “les anciens étudiants” to join the French community for the Bastille Day Celebrations on Saturday, July 12.  “We have reached out to our students from years past who are back in Bermuda this summer.  We would love to meet them again, and to find out what influence this trip may have had on their studies and career path”, says Smatt. 

This year’s Bermuda Bastille Day celebrations will be in the form of a garden party which will transport you to France and its July 14th traditions, with long banquet tables set à la Française in the beautiful gardens of historic Waterville.  “With Chef Derek Meyers from IRG, we have chosen a very traditional menu, with steak and merguez, and bien sûr, a cheese course and crêpes for dessert” says Smatt.  

The new president is originally from the Indian Ocean Island of La Réunion, and she met her Bermudian husband while studying in the United States. “Since moving here, I discovered that Bermudians have such a love of French culture, French food and French wine.  We expect many supporters at the Robin Hood this week to watch the French football team!” she says. 

L’Alliance’s members are not only French and Francophones from Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada and all around the world, but include many Francophiles who join in for evenings of pétanque , wine tasting, and French cinéma. L’Alliance welcomes all, French, Francophones and Francophiles, to join the Bastille Day celebrations on Saturday, July 12. Tickets for the event are sold at www.bdatix.bm.

L’Alliance Française des Bermudes is a Bermuda registered charity, whose aim is to promote the French language and culture in Bermuda. Visit www.alliancefrancaise.bm for membership and more information.


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