Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

Students’ French Fancy on the Bristol-Bordeaux Exchange

The Bristol-Bordeaux Student Exchange is a family-to-family exchange for students of secondary school age in Bristol, where students are matched up with an exchange partner in Bordeaux and the Aquitaine area of France.

The French students spend two weeks in England and then the English students go to France to stay for two weeks (each part of the exchange either takes place at Easter or in the summer holidays). 


Last year, Redland Green School students from Year 7 to Year 13 took part in the exchange and we had the largest number of participants of all the schools in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The students from Redland Green School were supported by Ms Alcock who travelled with the group and stayed in the local area.

The Bristol Bordeaux Exchange is a wonderful opportunity for students to really improve their French language skills as well as gaining a real insight into the French culture and way of life. 

Read the stories of two of our students who took part in the exchange last year...

Millie’s story

When I first signed up to do the Exchange, I had no idea what to expect and at first I was nervous as I didn’t know who I would be put with. The Bristol-Bordeaux Exchange paired Sarah (my exchange) and I very well. 

I went to France during the Easter when everyone else received their French Exchange student. When I was in France, I had to go to a French school. At first it was really daunting but all of Sarah’s friends were friendly and helped me through the week.

French schools are not much different to English schools; literally, the only differences are that French schools are much bigger than English schools and that they wear home clothes. 

The second week of the exchange was better because I was more used to my surroundings and the people whom I was with. Also it was the holidays. During the holidays I went to Spain twice, I drove a boat; we went to a chocolate museum and did loads of other fun things.

When Sarah came to Bristol in July I was not sure I was prepared enough but we quickly bonded again. During Sarah’s stay we went to school, we went camping in Wales, we celebrated my birthday by going Go-Carting and eating at Cosmo and we went to the Harbour-Side Festival. 

The Bristol Bordeaux Exchange has helped a lot with my social confidence and my language skills. I hope next year I can do the exchange with Sarah again and also I hope to improve my French by next year.

Sophie’s story

During the last week of school and the first week of the summer holidays a group of around 30-40 students went on the returning leg of the Bristol-Bordeaux exchange. Many people stayed in many different places but I stayed in Bayonne in the south-west of France.

My exchange partner was called Ophelie and she lived with her mother and 5 year old brother in a flat near to the centre. During the course of the 2 weeks I experienced many aspects of French culture and culture of the Pays Basque region where I was.  

It was very daunting at first and the strong southern accent was difficult to understand in the beginning, however after a couple of days I tuned in to the way they spoke. I had a really amazing time; I was taken many different places. I went to the beach, I went bowling, I went to Biarritz, and I did the French equivalent of Go Ape and Laser Quest.

Some of the more traditional French experiences were when I went to a French wedding, which was really enjoyable and I also went to the Braderie and the town centre, which is a day when all the local shops put out there stock in the street for a massive whole-town sale.  

The more exciting things I experienced were when I went to a concert of a band called “M”. It was absolutely wild and completely insane. The music was awful but the atmosphere was amazing.

Also during my time the “Fête de Bayonne” was on, which is a whole-town party with music and dancing. The regional colours are red, white and green, so for the Fete everybody had to wear red and white along with a red handkerchief around your neck and a red scarf around your waist. It was really fun and there were fireworks in the evening. 

Overall, the exchange was a really enjoyable experience and although the language was tough at times, it was worth it.

Students on the Bristol-Bordeaux Exchange

Students on the Bristol-Bordeaux Exchange