Day 95: Presentation Time and Obscure British Overseas Territories

The snow keeps on coming in Neuchâtel...
The snow keeps on coming in Neuchâtel…

Something to Talk About

This week it was finally time for me to do my presentation in our Expression et Compréhension Orales class. By this point, I had seen many others go before me, with a variety of topics: Kurds and women’s rights in Kurdish society, Hungarian author Agota Kristof and living abroad, Tim Burton, the techniques of Chinese painting, local accommodation options for older people, Colombian coffee, public transport in Hong Kong, visiting Colombia, medications, Saint Petersburg, how to maintain adequate oral hygiene, street art, the British monarchy, subliminal messages in the media, Christmas in Poland and the heart/cardiovascular disease…

Island Intrigue

Well, I did something different and something that I find endlessly intriguing – islands. My presentation, entitled ‘Les îles du Royaume-Uni et de la France’, covered a bit of history, with the exploration of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as looking at faraway islands that are still part of the UK or France to this day. It’s endlessly intriguing because there are just so many amazing stories. Take the Pitcairn Islands for example. This incredibly isolated British overseas territory lies way out in the Pacific Ocean halfway between Tahiti and Easter Island. Most of the 50 inhabitants are descendants of the mutineers from the HMS Bounty and the Tahitian women that they had brought with them. They brought the ship to Pitcairn in 1790 before burning it at the shore to destroy the evidence. With the population now down to about 50, time seems to be running out for this tiny community. Or how about the British Indian Ocean Territory, where the native population, known as Chagossians, were forcibly removed in the 1960s for the sake of an American airbase in a case which continues to be contested to this day? Anyway, I think the presentation went well, a 15-minute presentation in French isn’t easy but it gets less hard each time.

Tomorrow is the last day of classes and time for the Twelve Days of Christmas sing-song. Should be fun.

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