This week’s report highlights the range and depth of experiences and opportunities which St Catherine’s offers to students of Languages.

Alliance Finalists

What benefits did you gain by participating in the finals?

Last Saturday 9 September, the Berthe Mouchette, Alliance Française finals took place. This involved four minutes general conversation with a panel of examiners. With the VCE Oral Examination only a matter of weeks away, this was a great opportunity for the students to pit themselves against some of the strongest French students in the State. Year 11 students competed against 854, of whom 72 were finalists.

“It was quite intimidating! It really required me to respond quickly and at times I found it hard to use unfamiliar tenses and complex grammar on the spot. The experience set an example for what it will be like in the Year 12 exam. Next year, I need to take control of the conversation more.”  

Rui Shu (Maria) Wu (Year 11)

There were 892 Year 12 students who competed, of whom 125 were finalists. School Captain, Georgie Sitch was a finalist.

“To enter the Alliance centre in St Kilda is to enter a microcosm of French life. Everyone is speaking French, there is a French library, croissants on offer and the TV broadcasting French programs in the background. So I was excited to find there is a place for students and lovers of French in Melbourne. 

The finals in many ways simulated the end of year exam as it involved speaking in front of two examiners at an external venue. In my conversation with the examiners I was asked to talk about a career in science and the challenges faced by female scientists. Competing in the finals was a taste of the pressure and the conversation skills required in the forthcoming VCE exams.”

Georgie Sitch (Year 12)
Shukutoku Sister School Visit

How did the Shukutoku visit enhance your language learning?          

The Year 12 Japanese class have spent Term 3 busily preparing for their upcoming Oral Examination. With the examination looming, it was fortuitous that nine students from our sister school, Shukutoku High School in Nagoya, were able to spend time with us in class to give a first-hand account of foreign language study in Japan.

The students were extremely forthcoming with their feedback and opinions about how they study English in Japan and were able to give us insight into their school life. This seemed to involve many hours of travel and study, often not going to bed until the early hours of the morning!

As many of us had taken part in the Japan Study Tour in 2015, it was gratifying for us to ask about our host sisters and further cement our relationship with Shukutoku. Most of all, it was very affirming for us that we were able to converse in Japanese for the double period and it was invaluable practice for the Oral Examination.

The Year 12 Japanese Class, 2017
Exchange Experiences

What did you gain linguistically and culturally from the exchange?

The first part of my French exchange was an incredible experience and I definitely recommend the exchange to anyone and everyone! My exchange, Chloé Demuth and I got along very well and even though I am very excited to travel to France this December, I feel as though I have already gained linguistically and culturally from the exchange. Throughout her time in Australia, Chloé would teach me small phrases that the French use in everyday life – this helped me to become more confident in my French as I was able to integrate these phrases into my speaking. Chloé would also teach my family and I about her daily life in France and about French culture, including her school, family, French traditions and much more! Overall, I absolutely loved the first part of my exchange and I can’t wait to travel to Toulon this December!

Sarah Steven (Year 11)
Chinese Cultural Day

How was the Chinese Cultural Day beneficial?

The Chinese excursion was an invaluable experience that allowed us to gain a greater understanding of what is occurring in the Victorian Chinese scene. The day began with a concert at the Melbourne Town Hall. I particularly enjoyed the competition winner’s Chinese dance, as well as the Chinese orchestra. Hearing about the dancer’s inspiration for her show was enlightening, as previously, I hadn’t known about that particular style of Chinese dancing. Additionally, the workshops our group participated in were also quite informative. I learned about the Chinese programs at the University of Melbourne and RMIT that I was previously unaware of. The hosts of activities themselves were more than happy to provide me with answers for the questions I raised about the Chinese language courses.

Afterwards, our group walked a short distance to an excellent dumpling restaurant, Din Tai Fung. Here, we enjoyed many different types of Chinese dishes that I hadn’t tried before, such as a vegetable dumpling, and a cucumber/chilli salad. I particularly enjoyed the soup dumplings. We then travelled to Melbourne Central, where we purchased bubble tea.

From this excursion, I gained an improved perspective on Chinese culture in Victoria. It also provided me with the opportunity to learn more about the courses which I am interested in attending after Year 12. Finally, the food and drinks consumed in the restaurant, along with the bubble teas, were very tasty and of good quality, allowing for a greater enjoyment of Chinese culture. I thank Mrs Hugh and Miss Xie for organising this excellent trip!

Renée Barker (Year 10)
Ms Anna Pianezze, Head of Languages