As part of twinning arrangements between Keynsham and Libourne in France, 19 year old Aurore Tourenne has been spending the month of June working in the Keynsham Town Council Offices. Here, she gives us an ‘outsider’s view’ of life in the town.
I am Aurore Tourenne. I come from the twinning city of Libourne, which is located in South West of France. Libourne is between the famous vineyards of Saint Emilion and Pomerol. Libourne is different from Keynsham: it is an historical city; some buildings were built in Middle aged like the town hall or “la Tour du Port”. Libourne is also in the confluence between the two rivers: Dordogne and Isle.
I am currently following a two-year post a-levels training course to become a PA (Personal Assistant) in Max Linder High School of Libourne. For my diploma, I should have a work placement in a foreign country or in an international organization in France. I chose to have it in England and I went to Keynsham Town Council.
In Keynsham Town Council, I had the opportunity to help the six people who are working in the offices: updating different files, doing Publisher work, writing articles for “Keynsham News”, filing and attending meetings. It allows me to improve my English and (re)discover a country that I particularly like. Otherwise the council organization is totally different that it is in France. In France, we elect a list which will elect one “maire” (Mayor), its adjoints” (deputies) and the others stay councillors. Only the maire and the adjoints earn money for this work. The town hall (La Mairie) manages: roads, buildings, cemetery, finances, schools, green areas, local charities, accommodation and social help. In cities, “la mairie” is in charge of culture, young people and health. So, the Town Council and “la mairie” have got different aims.
There are also more differences. The weather is more cold than in France. In summer we often have 28 degrees. You drive on the left side of the road while we drive on the right. Sometimes, to cross the road, I look to the wrong side.
The school organization is another different point. As I have heard in a school, English pupils stay in the same school from 5 to 11 and 11 to 18. In France, you change four times: “Maternelle” from 3 to 6, “Primaire” from 6 to 10, “Collège” from 11 to 14 and “Lycée” from 15 to 18. In this period, we should sit two exams: “Brevet” at the end of the collège and “Baccalauréat” at the end of the Lycée. The management of these schools is also different: The town council manages primaire and maternelle schools, college is managed by the “Conseil Général” (County or District Council) and Lycée by the “Conseil Régional” (Regional Council).
Otherwise, English people are really friendly and welcoming. I enjoyed spending time here and discovering some big cites. I also like discover the Twin city of Libourne: Keynsham.