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Twinning links to strengthen as Brecon school girl returns from Brittany

17 year-old school girl Hannah Mathias, from Christ College, Brecon, has returned to Wales after spending two weeks in the summer doing an independent work placement in France.

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The trip was organised with the support of the twinning association between Brecon and Gouesnou in Brittany, north western France, which has beenpromoting strong social, cultural, artistic and sporting links between both towns for over 30 years.

During her immersion in Gouesnou’s municipal services, Hannah had the opportunity to work at the children leisure centre for a few days before joining the Media Library.


Commenting on her experience, Hannah said:

“It’s been a great journey. Now that I am back in school, I realise how much my spoken French and overall understanding of the language has improved. I stayed with two host families so there was no excuse not to speak French!

“Spending a week in the children’s activity club also allowed me to consolidate my understanding of certain words as well as pick up phrases that are used in a less formal situation and that I wouldn’t necessarily learn in a lesson in school – although learning languages for GCSE as well as for A levels at definitely helped me feel confident speaking about specific topics as I had already prepared them in class.

“My second week had more of an emphasis on Brecon and Gouesnou’s cultural relationship.  I was very surprised to be able to speak Welsh with a French-speaking, Breton man who had taught himself Welsh. It was a fascinating experience to communicate in Welsh through the French language and having Breton speakers understand our conversation almost entirely – that put all my language skills to the test!

“This visit made me realize how strong the connection is between the two towns. It was such a worthwhile experience, not only to develop my language skills, but also to visit the picturesque landscapes of their coastline and to strengthen my cultural awareness, which I’m very grateful for.”

At the end of the two weeks, a ceremony took place at the Media Library to thank Hannah for her great enthusiasm and for her commitment in the tasks she was intrusted.

During his intervention, the Mayor of Gouesnou, Stéphane Roudaut, mentioned the importance of young people integration within the twinning. He thanked the twinning committee as well as the host families and recalled his will to continue the exchanges by widening the collaboration between both towns around a youth, sports and culture triangle.

Discussions are in progress with the Mayor of Brecon, Manny Trailor, to set up a Summer Jobs Program for young people of both towns; and Christ College has already arranged for the Gouesnou group to come visit the school in November.