Michael Kewn case study
The week I spent in the South Western city of Bordeaux was one of the best weeks of my life. I spent five days working in a fitness centre in the centre of Bordeaux. The people I met, the things I saw and skills I learnt definitely made it one of the best weeks of my life; I not only improved my French skills, but also developed as a person.
What made me decide to go on this trip was the sense for an adventure and the chance to explore a new culture independently. The organisation was extremely helpful throughout the trip and it was reassuring to me to know that other students from other schools would be joining me.
Not only was the trip useful for my French I met some people from a completely different part of the UK who I will stay in contact with for a long time. Starting very early in the morning around 4am I arrived at London Luton Airport where I met my group and group leader, Lily. Most of us had not met before but we got on really well.
When we arrived in Bordeaux we relaxed at the hotel before venturing out in to the heart of the city to each find our own work placements. The local people around Bordeaux were very pleasant and helped me to find my placement on more than one occasion.
My placement was a fitness centre called ‘L’institut le Bien Etre’. On the first day of work it was really intimidating to have to introduce myself alone to my new employers, but after the initial nerves, the owners of the Fitness Centre were really welcoming and friendly. I worked seven hours each day with a three hour break in between, which meant I could see what Bordeaux had to offer. I helped out by welcoming customers and performing tasks around the centre. In the first couple of hours I got by with 'D'accord' or 'Oui' before I felt confident enough to interact with members of the gym. I was nervous, but was more excited than anything else. As it was during the holidays, this allowed me time to interact with other staff and ask them questions about France and what Bordeaux had to offer which was really interesting.
There was also the opportunity to explore the city. The group leader organised several activities such as the cinema, bowling, meals out and ice skating. The trip definitely made me more sociable and I would love to go back one day. Bordeaux is a very lively city; we spent most of the evenings as a group together in the town centre. I was very happy with the independence we were given by the group leader as it made me feel much more relaxed. I was really confident in speaking French when ordering food in restaurants or talking to French people in shops.
I thoroughly enjoyed the work experience programme. I have brought so many things away from this experience; I now feel so much more positive towards my French in general, I have gained confidence and independence and hopefully improved my job prospects for the future. I would definitely recommend this project to anybody who is considering it.
I can’t wait until next year!