New Caledonia, new horizons and travel through an educational lens

The opportunity to travel not only opens doors to new experiences but also fosters an increased intercultural understanding and empathy, both essential qualities for navigating and existing within our diverse world.

For a group of language students travelling to New Caledonia, our recent French Language and Cultural Tour was a unique opportunity for such experiential learning, where language acquisition went beyond just learning vocabulary and grammar - and instead became a gateway to connect with people, traditions, and perspectives different from their own.

Day 1-2: TGS in Town

Our journey began with a surprisingly short flight of less than two hours to Nouméa, where we were greeted by the warm island breeze and the promise of adventure. Welcomed by our sister-school Collège Baudoux, we wasted no time in making friends, enjoying a treasure-hunt designed to both explore the town, break down barriers, and get the students from both schools engaging bilingually. The day ended with a delightful beach picnic dinner catered by the Collège Baudoux families, allowing us to soak in the ambiance of our new surroundings and bask in the friendship extended by our hosts.

Day 3: Phare Amédée

On our third day, we set sail for the iconic Phare Amédée. Here, we climbed to the top of the lighthouse, marveled at panoramic views of the turquoise waters, and immersed ourselves in the beauty of the reef. With snorkels snuggly fit, we explored the vibrant marine life, including close encounters with mesmerising turtles and the infamous local sea snake, the Tricot Rayé.

“After some traditional dancing entertainment and a Polynesian buffet lunch “à volonté”, one would think we’d filled the boys up, but our happy travelers returned to the mainland, delighted by the chance to finish the evening with delicious dinner of galettes and crêpes.”

Day 4-6: School Visits and Cultural Immersion

The following days were equally filled with cultural enrichment and educational experiences. Students participated in various lessons with buddies from the Collège and neighbouring Lycée Lapérouse. The group also enjoyed a tour of Nouméa on the touristic Tchou-Tchou train, as well as visits to the local marketplace, the Aquarium and the Centre Culturel Tjibaou, where we gained some insight into the indigenous Kanak culture and history. For most school tours after a week in New Caledonia, this would be where the fun ends. But we were not finished yet!

The Tchou-Tchou train.
The Tchou-Tchou train had a familiar colourway.

Day 7-10: Perfection at Poé

As our time in Nouméa came to an end, our TGS group of 31 became a combined group of 57, and we headed north to Poé; our 10-day trip culminating in a bilingual school camp with the Collège. Over the next four days, with an iridescent blue ocean on our doorstep, the TGS and New Caledonian students got to know each other in this stunning setting, immersing themselves in conversation groups, sports and board-games, beach walks and mountain-hikes, and even a karaoke/dance competition in what became a truly unforgettable, unique bilingual immersion experience.

Day 10: ‘Au revoir’ not ‘Adieu’

On our final day, we bid farewell to Poé with memories that will no doubt last a lifetime. After cleaning the campsite and a final breakfast of freshly baked treats from the boulangerie, we reticently made our way to the airport, savouring final moments with our new friends; farewells made easier only by the fact that we will see each other again when Collège Baudoux visits us in Term 3.

“School language tours such as these offer students an amazing and unique opportunity to enhance their language skills while immersing themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of the country they are visiting. Through authentic experiences and cultural exchanges students develop not only their linguistic abilities but also their appreciation for cultural diversity and their capacity for global citizenship.”

The 2024 French Language and Cultural Tour to New Caledonia delivered all it had promised and more. The tour staff, Mrs Parrington, Mrs Stinson and Mr Schuhmacher, thoroughly commend the boys for their maturity throughout the trip and the way in which they fully invested themselves in making the most of every opportunity offered.

Bravo à tous et à la prochaine fois!


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