Summer in Burkina Faso

Many of our students use the Summer break as an opportunity to do something French or languages-related and we’re hoping to post a few more pieces on this topic as the Summer gets closer. We’re kicking the series off with this blog post from Lauren Birney who will be in the final year of her BA Hons in Professional Education (Primary) with a specialism in Modern Languages next year. Before then, though, Lauren is off to West Africa…

“This summer I’m spending 5 weeks in Burkina Faso, a country that many people, including my travel nurse, have never heard of. Burkina Faso is a French speaking country in West Africa that I absolutely love. In 2012 I visited the capital, Ouagadougou (how fun is that to say?!), with a group on a summer missions trip. We ran kids clubs in the areas surrounding the capital, and got involved with other programmes that helped street children and orphans.

2016 Lauren Birney Burkinabe Classroom April

Up until this trip I HATED studying French. In my secondary school it had been compulsory to take French as far as GCSE and then after that I had done surprisingly well in the exams so begrudgingly kept it on for AS/A Level. Then I visited Burkina Faso and it all fell into place. Don’t get me wrong, my French was not great at this point, I could just about hold a simple conversation or regurgitate a memorised children’s story. But being in a French-speaking country made me realise how great it was to be able to communicate in another language, and made me motivated to learn French.

2016 Lauren Birney Prescolaire April

When I returned from the trip I realised that I wasn’t quite ready to give up French yet and so I started researching universities that I could study French alongside primary teaching. And that’s how I ended up in Stirling!

So four years on (three at Stirling and one spent abroad with the British Council) I’m returning to Burkina Faso to do something a little different. I’m hoping to put my teaching skills to the test and volunteer at LIFE academy, an international school in Ouagadougou. In true African style I’m not quite sure what my role will be yet, but I’m sure when I arrive all will be made clear! I hope to teach and help out where I can within the school.

2016 Lauren Birney April

For the rest for my time I hope to get stuck into as much as I can, the possibilities are endless really – work with street children, in orphanages, practical work, teaching adult English classes, volunteering in hospitals and so much more. For now I will leave you with some pictures that little give you a taster of my Burkinabé life and update you more when I am there, settled in and know what I am doing!”

Thanks to Lauren for this article. We hope all goes well with the trip and look forward to updates later in the Summer!

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