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Everything to Gain and Nothing to Lose in Toulouse!

Updated: May 6

Written by: Cadence Chua (23A10)

Edited by: Yang Jiayu (23A10)

Bonjour! I’m Cadence, and I was interviewed for an article on H2 French advice a while back! I’m here to share my experience on a school trip to Toulouse, France, in November last year.

As part of the French Language Elective Programme Scholarship, I could go on an all-expenses-paid, multi-faceted immersion experience in France. Our trip lasted from the 16th to the 28th of November, and it was the trip of a lifetime, with wonderful memories shared and stronger bonds forged between those who embarked on the trip. Here are some highlights of the trip!

An aerial view of Paris from the plane. I still remember plugging in my earphones and purposefully playing Paris by Taylor Swift as we were landing. The relief we felt after 13 hours of flying was unforgettable.

Arriving at the Toulouse airport! I believe the total time we spent flying and in transit was around 20 hours…

Our first meal after landing in Toulouse! We had dinner at a cozy French-Italian restaurant and were able to practise our French by ordering in French for the first time! What was interesting was that there was a group of Singaporean uncles seated at a table near us and they were all speaking Singlish!

On our second day, we had a walking tour around the city centre, and we visited Le Capitole—or the city hall, and it was magical!

The view from the highest point of Cordes-sur-Ciel, a small medieval town an hour’s drive from Toulouse. The pictures do not do this landscape justice, since what we saw there was quite literally breathtaking and indescribable. I am not exaggerating when I say that at that moment, it felt like time moved more slowly and all my worries disappeared.

A spontaneous picnic at the Jardin des Plantes!

An afternoon well-spent frolicking in the gardens, with wonderful, temperate weather and great company. Certainly one of the most memorable days in Toulouse.

A visit to another medieval town, this time by the name of Carcassonne. We had the opportunity to tour the medieval fortress, used from the Middle Ages to defend the town from invaders. The gorgeous snow-capped Pyrénées mountains appear in the background of the second picture and are known for being the tallest mountain range in all of Europe.

Apart from these highlights, this trip to France helped me gain confidence in speaking the French language, and also more cultural knowledge regarding France. The language lessons we went for were not just interesting, but also immensely rewarding, especially getting the chance to learn the language together with adults hailing from all over the world - India, South Korea, Colombia, Spain, etc.

It has been an educational yet fun immersion experience and something I wouldn’t trade the world for. My language skills have improved, and it was gratifying to see my progress within less than two weeks in France. Of course, language aside, this trip has been one of many firsts - the first time I stayed alone, the first time I travelled with my friends… I will always remember our late-night talks and attempts to converse fully in French amongst ourselves, then falling back into English!

A huge thank you to all who were on this trip with me, as well as my teachers for helping us understand cultural customs, correcting our French, and being with us every step of the way. I am so heartened that we were able to truly enjoy ourselves and forge new bonds (including with the teachers!) through this trip. Hopefully, the next time I’m in France, it will be as an international student!

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