“I was really pleased to be placed in La Source, an organic and eco-friendly shop, restaurant and café. La Source sells a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, organic, gluten-free and low salt foods as well as household goods. The menu changes every day, with vegetables a key element, although the restaurant isn’t vegetarian – you can order sustainably-sourced fish and meat.
“My job was to type up the menus in the morning and to serve customers in the restaurant. It was a bit difficult to start with, especially as the food on offer was different each day, but I had a copy of the menu with me, which was very helpful, and if there were tricky questions about the food, I asked other staff members for help. Luckily I work as a waitress in a pub near Mildenhall so I’m used to taking orders and managing plates.
“Everyone was very kind, friendly and helpful, and lots of customers wanted to practise their English – they spoke in English, and I replied in French. While I was there, two sets of English customers came in, so it was useful to be an English speaker.
“One day a French teacher came in, and she said that my accent was good, which was very encouraging!
“There were 28 A level students in Lille, although I was the only person working at La Source. I finished work at 3pm, earlier than the others, so made the most of my time getting to know the town. I did have a bad cold while I was there – it was interesting visiting a chemist’s as I came out with loads of sachets, tablets and a local anaesthetic.
“I had to spend a lot of time speaking French during the day – and realised when I got back how much my French had improved. I did go on a French exchange when I was at school, but this was a very different experience – with the French family they would sometimes speak to me in English, but here I had to stand on my own two feet and do everything I could to communicate.
“I haven’t decided whether to go to university after Long Road to study French and History, followed by a PGCE, or to go straight into primary school teacher training – I would like to be a teacher – but having French on my CV is going to be extremely useful in the future.”
“It was a really enjoyable week, and I am very pleased that I took part in this French work experience.”
Halsbury travel, which organised the work experience, says: “La Source was very happy with Kate and the way she interacted and got involved during her time with them. They said: “Très bien!!”
Thank you to La Source for sending us the photographs of the shop and restaurant. To find out more about the business, ready for your next trip to Lille, visit: http://www.denislasource.com/