While my friends were enjoying a comfortable sleep-in on their Saturday morning, two weekends ago I got up at the unkind time of 5:30 am. Four hours later I found myself outside the Alliance Française building in Wellington with my wonderful French teacher, as well as three of the other Young Ambassadors and their teachers. Meeting each other was, of course, the main objective of the day. We were taken upstairs to a table laiden with lollies, chocolate, muffins and bananas. The others arrived until all 10 Young Ambassadors and their teachers were there. Over the next few hours we introduced ourselves, shared our expectations of the project, learnt more about our role and responsibilities, and had the opportunity to discuss our ideas for our personal projects. Time flew and before I knew it, it was time for our excursion.
We left the building and started to walk. We must have looked an odd bunch – 10 students all wearing (different) uniforms on a Saturday morning, accompanied by our teachers and leaders of the Shared Histories project. We finally made it to the New Zealand Dominion Museum, where we quickly ate lunch and then were taken on a tour.
The tour was very interesting, and I would recommend everyone to go and see the World War One exhibition at the museum. I have been studying the Battle of the Somme, but I still learnt a lot about the battle, as well as other things about the war. Unfortunately we ran out of time for the Gallipoli tour as we had to hurry back to Alliance Française where our trip (and draft itinerary!!) were discussed. As you can imagine this was extremely exciting. Then, before we knew it, it was time to freshen up and get ready for our reception at the French Ambassador's residence!
Some of the other Young Ambassadors' projects will be finding out more about former students of their schools who fought in the Battle of the Somme – some of whom were killed there. Others discussed having ancestors or older relatives who fought there. I have not known of any relatives who fought in the First World War, but for my project I would like to talk to my grandparents and find out some more about this. I also hope to find a Nelson family who had relative/s fight in the Battle of the Somme; my aim is to make a connection with them, and to personally acknowledge their relative while I am over there.
Along with my personal project, I have been speaking with my French teacher Madame de Joux about a school project. We are planning on getting the French classes at Waimea College involved with a bigger project of mapping out how the New Zealand soldiers got from here to France, following them through each stage of their journey.
C'est parti !