Secondary students on an exchange programme from Reunion are learning more about a fellow 'Vanilla Island' and speaking French every day for a week.
Coinciding with 'La Fête de la Francophonie', 25 students from Collège Jean Albany of La Possession, Reunion, are currently in Seychelles for the first leg of the exchange with the English River Secondary School. A group of Seychellois students will travel to Reunion later in April.
"We are part of the Vanilla Islands group, but it is mostly adults who come for exchanges. This is why we thought it was a good idea to join the exchange. It also gives our student and their parents the chance to communicate in French for a week, which is not always done willingly," said Brenda Andimignon, the project coordinator of English River school.
She added that by doing so, the students and their parents will be encouraged to speak French more often even at home, as each teenager from Reunion is attached to a Seychellois family during their stay here.
Through the exchange, the two groups will also learn more about sustainable development and sustainable tourism, among other things, through various activities.
Arriving in the country on Friday 15, the Reunionnais students accompanied by three teachers have been taking part in different educational activities and tours.
Upon arrival on Saturday, the student visited Ephelia, where they learnt about sustainable development in the tourism industry, the mangrove eco-system, sustainable management of water and electricity and mangrove rehabilitation.
During the few days that followed, the students planted trees, picnicked with their host families, and observed corals and marine life of the Ste Anne Marine Park. A visit to the Mission Lodge, Biodiversity Centre, Botanical Gardens and a tour of State House were also on the programme.
"The stay so far has been very educational in regards to the things that I have seen and learnt. I discovered the educational system of Seychelles differs from that of Reunion," said Annecy Pougary, a Reunionnais student.
She said that she wishes to show the Seychellois students the beautiful landscapes of Reunion, with its various volcanic formations, once they visit the French department of the Indian Ocean.
The Seychellois students are expected to leave for Reunion on April 28 where an equally exciting programme awaits them. They will get to visit the Piton de la Fournaise, discover journalism as a job and discover the joy of travelling.
"I am excited to see the volcanos in Reunion as I've never seen one and to experience the island as a whole," said Joshua Agyei, a student form English River.