Robin P., 16 years old
Type of holiday: School exchange, year 8
Destination: Paris (France)
Population: 2.5 million
Duration: 10 days

Robin, what did you do in Paris?
Robin: I did a school exchange there for 10 days when I was in year 8. I went to school with my exchange partner. School is completely different there. Every teacher has their own room and the pupils go to the teachers. There were big gates in front of the school building so that you could only get into the school during lesson time. If you get there late you can’t get in anymore because the gates are closed.

And did you do anything with the host family as well?
Robin: The school had a fixed programme. We went on a lot of excursions to Paris, in fact we actually saw all of Paris. We saw all the big attractions, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and of course the Eiffel Tower... and we also had two days, which we spent alone with our host families. We went to Montmartre, visited Sacré-Coeur and so on.

Did you have difficulties finding your way around?
Robin: No, not at all. I mean, I only started French in year 7, but it went well because I had already been to Paris twice before. That meant I could get into the language quite quickly and if you can speak a bit of the language you can get by everywhere really.

Did you try any of the many French delicacies?
Robin: Yes, I tried mussels and snails. The snails really don’t have a strong taste, but the consistency is strange. You either like it or you don’t. The tasty bit is really the sauce.

And what did you enjoy most about the exchange?
Robin: I think the city itself. Paris is just a very, very beautiful city! The exchange also helped me with my French. Speaking and listening really improves after spending time abroad and you also hear how people speak colloquially with each other – that’s not something you can just learn at school.