Fourteen French speaking students and their three chaperones took a trip to France during April vacation.
According to senior Allyson Conway, the group consisted of all French speaking students: four seniors, six juniors, and four sophomores.
Chaperoning the trip were French teachers Erin Fortunato and Julia Gross, as well as Gross’s daughter, Adelaide, Conway said.
Despite the fact that it was rainy and the group was suffering from jet-lag, on the first day the students still managed to see Eiffel Tower and tour around Paris, junior Jeff Durkin said.
“After staying in Paris for the first two days, we then went to the Loire Valley in Southern France and then north to the town of Bayeux in Normandy,” Durkin said. “My favorite part of the trip was staying in and touring around the cool town of Bayeux.”
Conway said that some of the landmarks they visited included the Normandy Beaches, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Le Louve, and Leonardo De Vinci’s house.
French teacher and chaperone Erin Fortunato said that one of her favorite sights was Mount St. Michelle, which is a little island that, at high tide, can only be reached from a narrow path extending from shore.
Conway said that she too enjoyed the both famous and historic sites that were toured on the trip, but she also just enjoyed the travelling and exploring new locations.
“I really enjoyed walking around Paris, as it is so different from U.S. cities such as Boston and New York,” Conway said. “The culture is extremely rich, and there is always something to see or do; one day we watched a street performer do tricks with a soccer ball as he climbed a lamp post.”
According to Fortunato, in addition to getting a fun and cultural experience, the students were also there to practice their French speaking skills.
“We had one day where we spoke no English at all, and if a student did speak English he/she had to put 20 cents into a sock,” Fortunato said. “At the end of the day, all that sock money was distributed to people on the streets.”
Conway said that overall the language barrier didn’t cause them to have any trouble getting around; in contrast, it became a little frustrating when the native speakers would switch over to English simply because it was obvious that the students were tourists.
Fortunato said that she would like to try and continue this trip for students in future years, as she had such an amazing experience both travelling France itself and getting to know her students in a different way.
“I thought it was awesome that we were able to implement what we are learning in the classroom to a ‘real world’ situation,” Durkin said.