French exchange program kicks off at JRHS

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By: An-Vu Phan, Sports Editor

As the first lunch began on Tuesday October 25th, students streamed into room 1104 for the potluck lunch hosted by French Club for the French students. During the lunch, JRHS students got to mingle with French students from the Lycée Notre Dame Saint Victor as they begin their exchange program with their JRHS hosts.

“I’ve hosted four exchange students before this, so I already know I really enjoy showing French students around the U.S. and helping them try new things,” senior Blair Harvie said.

This is the third time that JRHS has partnered with the Lycée Notre Dame Saint Victor, a private high school in France, in a program that allows for JRHS students to correspond with their pen pals prior to the trip, host the French students in their homes, and eventually travel to France to stay with the French student’s families. During the two weeks that the French students stayed in America, they get to learn what American life is like while the hosts had to provide meals, a private room, and pay for the students properly.

“My daily routine with Alice is to go to school, eat with her friends, and spend our time in different places,” sophomore and Lycée Notre Dame Saint Victor student Aurore Masseron said.

While they are here, the French students got to see what American high schools are like and go on guided tours of Richmond, Monticello, Jamestown, and Washington D.C. The students would go on trips with their hosts when there is free time.

“I have done so many things with [my host] Alice,” Masseron said. “We have been to Libby Hill Park, Carytown, Halloween Parties, Busch Garden, the mall, Downtown, and the Hollywood Cemetery.”

Despite the places they were taken to, the hosts wished they could have taken them to places such as New York City or the Outer Banks, North Carolina. While the French students were here, the hosts got to show the students different aspects of American culture such as on how dinner is eaten in America at 6:30 while the French eat their dinner at 8:00 or that French high schools begin their day later than American high schools.

“What I like about James River was that the scholar system is based more on knowledge than marks,” Masseron said.

The French students went to school with their hosts and got to experience what their hosts experience in high school on daily basis. However, come spring break, JRHS students will also travel to France to experience French culture and life.

“I love nice scenery and pretty parks,” senior Alice Stitzer said. “So I guess my top thing I am looking forward to is Aurore walking me around her neighborhood,”

As with the French students coming here, the JRHS group of students will travel to Épernay, France from April 6-16 as they visit the  Lycée Notre Dame Saint Victor and live with the families of the French students that they hosted. This in turn completes an exchange program which comes around every two years at JRHS and has forged new connections.

“I have always been fascinated with learning about others and their cultures and I thought this would be a great way to make myself a more fluent French speaker by immersing myself in the language,” Stitzer said. “Making a new friend was a plus, too.”

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