A cool time at College

26 Jul 2017

They sacrificed part of their summer holiday to winter Down Under and attend College, but Year 12 exchange students Mathieu Bonneyrat and Martin Cavalera say it has been totally worth it.

In fact, for Mathieu, it is second time around. He was also here last year and has hosted two College students back home in France. “It’s an exceptional opportunity,” he says. “It’s so much fun and the benefits are amazing.”

Both boys are confident English speakers, but enjoy picking up and practicing the nuances of everyday language and learning about Kiwi culture. “There are many different things between France and New Zealand. Here we learn how to live a new life and that’s just great,” says Mathieu.

Mathieu is staying with Year 12 student George Murray and Martin is trying out life as a boarder in School House with his host Year 12 student Robert Rolleston.

They note our shorter school day leaves more room for sport and cultural activities, have been surprised by differences in subject options – with approximately 10 compulsory subjects in the French curriculum they rarely study the same thing every day, and have quickly adapted to wearing school uniform. “From our point of view a uniform is very restrictive, but when you’re here it doesn’t matter, it’s easy,” says Mathieu.

They are also open-minded about New Zealand cuisine – even if Martin cannot quite wrap his head around the idea of baked beans or spaghetti for breakfast.

During the recent school holidays, both boys holidayed in Wanaka with their host families and also enjoyed time spent simply chilling out at home.

Mathieu and Martin are students at the Centre International de Valbonne, France.

French Exchange Students July 2017