When I was at school in Hastings we had a school camp trip to Opoutama. It was about two hours drive away and we stayed in chalet-shaped huts near the beach and ate the food our parent-helpers made. I’ll leave it at that.
These days kids go on sports trips to Australia, music trips to Japan, language trips to Europe. A lot has changed since my day!
But in 7th form (that’s how old school I am) I went on an AFS exchange trip for a year to the US. It was a life changing experience and I am a huge advocate of school exchanges for the way they open the eyes of a young person to see how other people live, how they think and build lifelong bridges of friendship and cultural understanding.
New Caledonia is really popular for school trips, and with good reason.
Why? It is a little piece of France in the South Pacific.
New Caledonia is thee perfect place for a short-term, culturally impacting school exchange where students get a taste of this unique French/Melanesian culture and people, and indeed many schools in New Zealand and Australia are already converted to this experience for their French language students.
Just like my exchange (except these are typically for 1 week instead of 1 year) students are billeted by local families and each day they will be immersed in French culture. They attend language school in the mornings and explore Noumea and other parts of this beautiful tropical island, just two-and-a-half hours flight from Auckland, in the afternoons with their teachers.
Some of the highlights include visiting the architecturally stunning Tjibaou Cultural Centre to learn about the native Kanak people, their heritage and their traditions. There’s plenty of opportunity to go snorkelling, swimming, and crucially practice reading and speaking French while shopping at the local supermarket and interacting with their families.
You can expect your teens to return begging to take you back on a family holiday!
Click here for my blog on 5 reasons to go to New Caledonia for a holiday if you need a teensy bit more convincing 🙂