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Europe culinaire : A la découverte de l'Europe, par les chemins et les assiettes
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project of our school was to develop to international and to open by 2016 a European section in Spanish first then in English. Our Erasmus project was totally part of this willingness. The European section in English is finally going to open this year while the Spanish section will hopefully open next year. Our project aims to enhance vocational trainings that are usually poorly considered in offering an added value thanks to an international openness. At a time when finding a job can be a great challenge for many people, international mobility can offer more opportunities and be definitely a plus. Improving skills in foreign languages has evolved and it now also includes intercultural management. That is mobility during scholarship that participates in an international openness. It sounded essential to us to offer our students to live an enriching foreign experience and to acquire through it personal and professional skills that will be a springboard for their future. Indeed getting aware of other cultures, learning or improving their skills in foreign languages fuel students or professional mobility. Students concerned were in their second or terminal year of GNVQ Advanced (première et terminale, baccalauréat professionnel) in culinary art. There are 12 in a class and 11 in the other to have been able to be part of these mobilities. There are from 16 to 17. There were for some of them in school failure. The goal of our project was to help them become more confident in themselves and in their ability to succeed. The project helped them to be valued for themselves and in others eyes. They have been able to be conscious that their skills can be recognized outside of their school and can offer them opportunities to get a job throughout the world. Their activities were mainly dedicated to culinary arts that are the chore of their future job. They took cookery lessons with students and teachers of our school partners. These cookery courses brought them to learn new work technics, products, and food preparations while improving their foreign language skills. Cultural activities connected with cookery were organized: local food markets, visits of luxury hotels and restaurants, gastronomy shows, visit of the Albufera (protected zone for the rice culture). They also discovered the city, museums at the end of their day or during the weekend. To lead this project, we got support from the steering committee that defined the actions to take, the schedule and the stakeholders. It participated in setting up these actions in relying on the expertise of the internal and external actors. The project was set up with partners that had already had a certain experience of European programs. Our partner for our London project was the University of West London (UWL) that is fully aware of teaching to foreign students. The second partner was Chef Academy thanks to which our students had been able to professionally being immersed during their stay in London, through their professional network in catering industry. Our partner in Valencia was Centro Superior de Hosteleria that is also an international school. Our partners respected our expectations and our demands in terms of learning for our students in offering them cooking courses then through their immersed work experience. This project involved our students' families and each of them had a part to play in the project. With the aim to check if our objectives were reached, formative tests had been organized before, during and after the project. These tests were focused on 3 aspects we wanted our students to improve : language skills, know how, know-how-to-be. The project impacted almost immediately on their know-how-to-be skills and through our other students’ eyes. Through this mobility our students learned how to coexist in a multicultural society. The project is also positive for their motivation because they understand now that they choose to graduate in a section offering opportunities for their future, and that their skills are effective and acknowledged. The project also has an impact on the pedagogic team in giving it a new dynamic in terms of teaching skills as well as for the future projects. On a long-term basis we wish that these sorts of projects be fully part of our students’ scholarship and that each of them get the opportunity to travel abroad. These types of experiences will help them to enlarge their job hunting, will open up their mind to other cultures and will make them true European citizens not afraid of crossing borders to meet others and find a job.

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