School linking and twinning, exchanges and partnerships – all are well-established concepts that have yielded exceptional benefits for participating schools over time.
Doha College is proud to have forged such a relationship with Collège Saint Joseph in Challans, France. This year marks the fourth year from the first link, which started quite humbly with pen pal exchanges where DC students in Year 7 were paired up with their counterparts in France. They swapped information about themselves, their interests, friends, families and school. From that moment, other projects that included Skype chats have flourished every year. In 2015, 37 students from Doha College visited Challans and finally met their French friends and took part in the life of Collège Saint Joseph for a number of days.
Since that successful trip, the idea was born of tightening the France–Qatar educational link. As part of that initiative, two French coordinators, Claire Picot and Muriel Genaudeau visited Doha College for a week in October. During their stay, they met with a vast number of staff and students, gave presentations about their school, shared letters and messages from the French students and brought many resources for the Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) department. Although they spent much of the time visiting the French students in their classes at Doha College, they observed many other classes across the school, including, maths, English and drama. Claire Picot said "this has been better than any training – I have learnt so much and I have picked up so many ideas". The French teachers were very impressed by how "completely silent" the DC students listened to the assembly and how they "were so approachable".
Ata Chowdhry, Year 13 French student, thoroughly enjoyed the teachers' visit and had this to say: "Meeting the teachers from France was a lovely experience! It was great getting to know them and a bit about the area from which they come. It's always nice hearing about different cultures and traditions, especially when it's so different to the ones we live amongst. It was interesting to hear about the differences between the British and the French school system and I hope to see them again so I can learn some more! "
Aside from visiting Doha College, Claire and Muriel had the opportunity to explore Doha and experience what Qatar is all about! They marvelled at the architecture of West Bay and the enormity of the Pearl and enjoyed the sunset in the desert. "We now have an understanding of what Doha College and Qatar are, and we can take this knowledge and share it with students and staff in Challans".
Following this visit, the Doha–Challans exchange will continue to develop with activities already planned for 2018 including a French trip in May.
Heartfelt thanks go to Mrs Anna Davis, Head of Languages, who was a wonderful host and ensured that the students benefited from this experience. Madame Mechmech, Doha College's exchange coordinator, said "Merci pour nous avoir rendu visite mesdames. Une visite enrichissante et un échange confirmé avec une feuille de route bien établie." Language students, will you try your hand at translating this?