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A group of fifteen Ermitage Collège students aged 11 to 14 went on a trip to Canada. This incredible 15 days journey was organised to help them immerse themselves in an English-speaking country, and discover the North American school system.

They were hosted by the students of two schools, BSS and UCC in Toronto. They stayed with Canadian families and got the chance to visit landmarks like Niagara Falls.

We interviewed the two chaperone teachers, Ms Legendre and Mr Haimet to get their feelings and feedback from this instructive trip.

 

Why was the trip to Canada organised?

Ms Legendre - The trip was organised in the spirit of Ermitage education, where we value bi-cultural and intercultural exchanges very highly. This was our first exchange trip that we've organised with other schools since COVID-19 and to the other side of the Atlantic. 

Mr Haimet - It was a good opportunity for our young children to discover new cultures and to practice their extremely strong language skills.

Voyage canada arrivée à l'aéroport

How many students went, and for how long?

Mr Haimet & Mrs Legendre - We took 15 students between the ages of 11-14 and the trip lasted for two weeks.

What were the main objectives of this trip for the students?

Ms Legendre - The main objective was to discover a new culture. They were very excited about discovering a new school and the Canadian school system. 

Mr Haimet - Our students also had the chance to work on their English and meet other students.

Voyage canada devant bus de l'école

What cities or regions did you visit in Canada?

Ms Legendre - The trip was centred on our journey to Toronto and beyond Toronto our school excursions took us into the suburbs and also to visit Niagara Falls. Some host families also took students to visit Montreal in Quebec and the region surrounding Toronto to see the eclipse.

Voyage canada musée des chutes de niagara

What activities did you carry out during your stay?

Mr Haimet - We did several things, we visited a haunted house to the Rainforest Café. We also went to a basketball game which was incredible, and we visited the raw museum where we had a scavenger hunt and walked downtown to Kensington market, graffiti alley and the miniature museum.

Voyage canada - rainforest cafe
Voyage canada - MUSEUM

Ms Legendre - The main activity was very much focused around school life. The girls were hosted by a school called BSS and our boys were hosted by another school called UCC. And so, they enjoyed just school life, school sports and as beyond that as well. One of their favourite activities was going to a basketball game.

Voyage canada - BASKETBALL GAME
Voyage canada - VISITE DE SPORTIFS

What did students enjoy the most about this trip?

Ms Legendre - Once again, very much school life because it's so different from a school day in France. They also enjoyed the friendship with the young people from the other schools, as well as the bonding they had between the group of 15 which then became a group of 30 with the host students, and the North American lifestyle.

Mr Haimet - I think they enjoyed getting to see a different school and see how they run their classes, particularly the creativity that they got in technology classrooms and in workshop classrooms. They learned about Canadian culture and society during this trip. They also learnt a lot about the consumer culture in Canada and the politeness of Canadians, that they say sorry for everything and hello to everyone.

Voyage canada devant un monument

What did the students learn about Canadian culture and society during the trip? 

Ms Legendre - Actually, one of the things they did learn is how international Toronto is. And that, coming from an international milieu, how easy it was to transfer to life over there.

How did the host families contribute to the students’ overall experience in Canada?

Ms Legendre - Massively, the host families were extremely generous, caring and inviting. They took charge of our young people, they cared for them very much and wanted to give them the best experience that they could of Toronto. Toronto is a business city, and they wanted to show a greater Canadian experience as well, and many of the young people were taken to their second homes or to visit other cities as well.

Mr Haimet - I think the students had a great time at their host families, a lot of them told me wonderful experiences. Guillaume told me about how he ate barbecue every day for five days. Abik about how he went up the CN Tower to see the eclipse. They really enjoyed being with the families and learning to meet different people, and when we left, there were definitely a lot of tears.

Voyage canada - GIRLS GROUP AT THE ECLIPSE

How has this trip been integrated into the curriculum? And what impact do you think it will have on the students in the long term?

Mr Haimet - I think long term the students will have gained an invaluable experience, they have seen another part of the world without their parents and have learnt to work independently in this group. It's part of the curriculum, as the trip gives them a real-life experience of the culture they study in their English books.

Voyage canada - ELEVES DANS LES RUES

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