Teens lap up culture

00:36, Feb 21 2014
Southland Times photo
Dunstan High School year 13 students Louis Day, 17 and MacCauley Harris, 17 have started the school year fluent in French after spending their summer holidays in Montpellier, France.

Two Dunstan High School students were prepared to immerse themselves in the French culture and eat frogs' legs and snails - but drew the line at smoking outside the school gate with other teenagers.

Louis Day, 17 and MacCauley Harris, 17 spent their summer holidays in Montpellier, France attending school and enjoying the culture and language they have studied since year 9.

"(The French) talk really, really fast. At the start it was really hard - you had to constantly translate back and forward but towards the end you could start to think in French. It was a lot easier."

Louis said the long school day was a bit of a shock with classes starting at 8.30am until as late as 7pm - but that was offset by free periods, half-days on Wednesday and two-hour lunches.

Another shock was that most of the students smoked - legally.

"Everyone smokes there - they are allowed to smoke outside the gates ... they used to be able to smoke inside," MacCauley said.


While the pair were not tempted to take up smoking, MacCauley said he was up for the challenge of eating frogs' legs and snails.

"Frogs' legs taste exactly like chicken so that was nice, but the thought of eating snails wasn't that appealing. My host mother cooked them in garlic but you could feel the antennae."

A highlight was visiting the old villages and seeing the architecture, and eating the pastries.

It was also exciting to be able to come back to school and hold conversations in French with their teacher, Verna Morris.

Mrs Morris said the pair had grown in their confidence of the language. "Their capacity certainly to understand everything I say to them and replying with ease is very obvious."

The Mirror