Why choose Surval to learn French?

22 May 2024

Joanne, 15 years old, from Belgium and the Philippines, answered questions about her experience of Surval Montreux and our French Language and Culture Gap Programme. From talking through what her weeks looked like to encouraging others to take every opportunity thrown at them, she has made the most of her time with us. We wish her all the best in Belgium where she is soon off to!


Mr Peltier: Hi everyone, I’m Alexis Peltier, I teach French at Surval and this year, I’ve had the privilege to teach…

Joanne: Joanne. Hi, I’m Joanne. I’m 15 years old and I’m from Belgium and the Philippines. I’ve been in the FLC (French Language and Culture) Programme for about 9 months since the end of August.


Mr Peltier: May 2024, it’s a good time to reflect on your time at Surval. Think about a year ago, why did you decide to join the French Language and Culture programme?

Joanne: I decided to join because I am Belgian and I did not know a word of French. The only word I knew is “Bonjour” and now a lot more than “Bonjour”. I joined the FLC because I wanted to move to Belgium and continue my High School and I thought it would be a good idea to take a year off before entering High School since I am yet to enter 9th Grade. I think it’s a really good decision because now I am currently taking the DELF A2 and I just did my oral exam and I am pretty sur I will pass.


Mr Peltier: In short, tell us about the FLC at Surval? How many hours of French you have per week and what you do inside but also outside of class?

Joanne: Every day, I have at least two periods of French, some days, I have three, it depends. On Wednesdays, we have excursions. For example, last week, we went to Evian which is in France, it’s right across the lake, about a 2-hour drive. We go to museums, to Geneva sometimes, what we’re aiming to for the following weeks is to go to France to practice our French because these are the last weeks of school. And out of school I go out with my friends to explore Lausanne or Vevey and I get to practice to practice my French since we are in the French-speaking area of Switzerland. I also do culinary arts which is in French, History of Art and Etiquette, but those are in English.


Mr Peltier: What was your highlight of the year? You pick two or three.

Joanne: My highlight of the year is the view, honestly, the view is incredible, and being with people from all around the world, having new friends, learning new things culturally and opening my eyes. I have a broader perspective of the world and also learning a lot of French.


Mr Peltier: As part of the FLC, what has been the highlight of the year for you?

Joanne: I think it’s the excursions and the opportunity to explore Switzerland in an academic view. Because it’s also bringing your classroom outside of the classroom. You can have class in the garden for example, or by the lake, or in a museum. You’re learning new things all while exploring Switzerland. I think that’s one of my biggest highlights.


Mr Peltier: Would you have a piece of advice for girls looking to join Surval in the French Language and Culture programme?

Joanne: You should just take the risk and grab every opportunity. I was also scared in the beginning, but I said to myself “It’s Switzerland and I’m going to be learning French, it will benefit me in the future”. I am still very young, so what I want to say is grab every opportunity that is thrown at you.


Mr Peltier: What are you going to do next year?

Joanne: Next year, I am going into my first year of High School and I am doing the IB programme. I am still to do that so I will be doing the IB prep in Belgium and I hope to use my French there since this was the whole purpose of joining the FLC.


Watch the full interview here:



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