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French language immersion school trip case study

John Gaffin travelled to France with us on one of our immersive French residentials to help his students gain confidence speaking French and to inspire a love of learning languages. Read on to hear about his experience, why he chose to us over other providers, what his students thought and why he'd recommend us to other teachers who want more out of their MFL trip.

By John Gaffin, Head of Languages
Lawrence Sheriff School


I took a school trip to Château de Chantereine with my class of French learners in April 2023 with Voyager School Travel. This is my tenth trip with Voyager School Travel and that's because they offer a product that no other tour company offers: French speaking animateurs, who not only speak to the students entirely in French, but also encourage the students to communicate back in French. This makes for a proper French trip where students get a more authentic language experience.


• 4-day French language immersion
• Château de Chantereine, Criel-sur-Mer
• 46 students / 4 teachers
• 31 Mar–3 Apr 2023

Chateau de chantereine residential centre final

Activities & excursions on our itinerary

I worked closely with a number of staff throughout the planning process who couldn't have been more helpful. They recommended me activities and excursions and were also brilliant at listening to what I wanted.

The final itinerary we came up with was really varied and had something for everyone: a visit to a French supermarket, an excursion to the caves of Naours, the Bay of Somme, Amiens Cathedral and Nausicaa aquarium—plus breadmaking and initiative games at the centre. I was really impressed when they were happy to accommodate changes to our itinerary due to weather conditions.

Our accommodation

The accommodation at Château de Chantereine was excellent. The dorm rooms were modern and the on-site activities took place in the various meeting rooms at the château. The spacious grounds provided the students with a lot of room to run around after a long journey.

I thought that the food was healthy, authentic and delicious. There were always three courses for the evening meal and the breakfast set the students up well for the day. I liked the fact that students made their own packed lunches because it meant that they could cater to their own tastes for a portion of the trip.

The onsite French instructors at Château de Chantereine

The animateurs are well worth the extra expense. They are so encouraging, which means that even the most reluctant students are able to communicate in French and make significant progress. The animatrice, Erika, was popular with the students.

They also make running the trip easy, from organising the logistics to leading the evening entertainment. 

The impact of the trip on my students

A survey of students after the trip showed that over 95% of students felt that their French had improved and nearly 80% had an improved perception of French as a result of the trip. Many of the students also singled out Erika, our animatrice, in their feedback:

"Erika was absolutely fantastic! She didn't speak a word of English to us and always impressively managed to find a way around it if we didn't understand what she said at first. She was very patient with us and very enthusiastic and kind."

"Erika always spoke in French which was really good for us to learn the language."

"I don't think there was anything Erika could've done better."

Final thoughts on the trip

I would definitely recommend doing a language immersion school trip with Voyager School Travel. One of the reasons why I set out to do this trip was because I wanted my students to see that they could use the knowledge they had gained in lessons to successfully communicate in French. During the trip, I could definitely see an improvement in their attitudes. Since our return, the atmosphere in lessons has been far better than before the trip. 


⭐ My top tips for teachers taking this trip

• Try and keep the itinerary as varied as possible
• Bring warm clothing for the Naours caves
• Bring a spare set of shoes to the Bay of Somme—you're going to get wet!

Discover our immersive French trips

Choose from a range of residential centres in Normandy and the Opal Coast for your school trip. Wherever you stay, you can be sure that your learners will receive the same high standard of instruction and care from our French team.

Why choose Voyager School Travel for your school trip?

You are in specialist hands

Our team use their teaching, language & destination experience to organise educational trips that are not only enriching but hassle-free. Read more →

Safety assured, bonded & accredited

As a member of the School Travel Forum & protected through ABTA & ATOL you can be sure of our high standards. Read more →

Trusted by teachers

Schools trust Voyager School Travel to organise the educational trips for over 32,000 passengers a year. Read more →

We deliver the educational elements

Signature educational experiences with our own language & activity instructors allow teachers to enjoy the trip too. Read more →

Stay at our own residential centres

Groups staying at our own residential centres in France will benefit from high quality learning, safety & service. Read more →

Our own overseas teams

Peace of mind knowing our French managers, instructors, coach drivers & support team will look after your every need. Read more →

For teachers who are serious about the educational outcomes of their school trip.

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