Ruairi O’Regan, Finn Adams and Pat Taaffe of Transition Year have just returned to Clongowes following a sojourn in our fellow Jesuit school, St. Marie La Grand’Grange in Saint Chamond (near St. Etienne). While there the boys were interviewed for a local newspaper on what it’s like living the French way…
‘We’re living like the French’
Ruairi, Pat and Finn are three Irish teenagers staying at Saint-Marie La Grand-Grange, a private school, as part of a school exchange programme. In total immersion for six weeks with families, they have come to improve their French and to experience French culture. Let’s meet them.
Can you present yourselves?
‘We are three Irish secondary school students aged between 15 and 17 years old. We’re studying around 30km from Dublin in a prestigious Jesuit estabishment just like Saint-Marie La Grand-Grange. It’s a private boarding school for boys and we live there seven days a week. We only go home during school holidays. We’re passionate about rugby. We’ve been studying French for three years now and we have four French classes per week.’
Describe your experience of life in a French secondary school.
‘We go to French classes with the French students in Saint Marie. We’re improving our French. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ve made a lot of progress and we’re experiencing the French way of life with our host families. We really appreciate French food: snails, frogs, crepes and saucisson with bread. The Cervelle de Canuts (Silk worker’s brain!) is also a treat.’
What are the differences compared to your country?
‘The education system is totally different. In Ireland, boys and girls are [often] educated separately. Here, it’s mixed however. The school day is a lot longer here as well, often until 5pm. In Ireland [in our school], we finish classes at 3pm [around 3.45pm] and then we play rugby. [Whereas] here, football is the main sport. We can’t wait until the spring so we can welcome the French boys to Ireland.’
Translated from the original French by Mr Francis Marron