By Natalija Hayes
On 8 February, 20 French students from La Roche-sur-Yon arrived to a friendly welcome by their Westlake Boys and Girls’ host families. Glad to be in a warm climate, the French students spent the next two weeks integrating into New Zealand life.
In the first week, the French students engaged in a range of activities inside and outside of school. They were officially welcomed into our school in a Powhiri and settled quickly at school, attending classes with us in the first few days and attending a Te Reo Maori Workshop. They also experienced the thrilling Haka performances at the WBHS Annual Haka Competition.
Wednesday saw all the students visit Devonport to learn about its heritage and explore the beautiful beaches. Friday was a long hot walk up Rangitoto which gave the French students a unique perspective of Auckland from the Hauraki Gulf. The second week involved excursions to the Auckland Museum and Mount Eden. Their last weekday, Friday, was spent hiking on the west coast at Bethells Beach.
Weekends were spent with host families, doing touristic activities such as climbing up the Sky Tower, visiting the Hobbiton, strolling along the beaches near the Matakana market and going for a scenic drive in the Waiheke Islands- only to name a few.
My exchange student, Chloé, commented on the beauty of our city and the intense heat in February – unlike anything she’d experienced in France!
This exchange definitely made me appreciate where we live a lot more as I saw it through the lens of a French teenager. We, Westlake students, are excited to return to our lovely exchange brother and sister in France to experience their life.