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South students enjoy French culture over April break

Posted By Alice Lee On May 13, 2009 @ 12:52 pm In Global Education | Comments Disabled

From April 19 to April 28, 15 South students became French.

Of course, we weren’t repatriated and naturalized as citizens of the Republic of France, but for a week and a half, we were immersed in French language and culture.

Those interested in the trip registered in May 2008 through Vistas in Education, a company that organizes programs to France. The program consisted of two days in Paris, five days of a family homestay in Toulouse, and then one last day in Paris.

During the six months preceding departure, the group met once to twice a month with French teachers Sébastien Merle and Suzanne DeRoberts, who chaperoned the trip, to prepare for the cultural experience.

On April 9 we met at Logan Airport, packed and prepared. We took a six-hour red-eye flight on Air France, which served a surprisingly gourmet meal (chicken fricassee with bulgur and slivered squash with a side of salmon couscous, served with bread, cheese, and rice pudding for dessert) and a delightfully French breakfast (chocolate croissants).

In Paris, we wasted no time traveling the city on foot, morning to night, from the Eiffel Tower to the Palace of Versailles to the Musée D’Orsay to the Cathédrale Notre Dame.

When we weren’t seeing the sights, we enjoyed the gastronomic delight that is France. In the mornings, we enjoyed croissants and toast with coffee or hot chocolate. Lunches were just quick sandwiches from cafés, but for dinner, we ate in style.

On the first night, we had fondue that involved a giant wheel of cheese, a metal spike, a heat lamp, potatoes, and various deli meats.

Dinner the second night consisted of crêpes stuffed with cheese, meat, and vegetables, then dessert crêpes with blueberries or chocolate and whipped cream.

A one-hour flight south on Wednesday took us to Toulouse, where the group split up to meet our host families. Each family had a teenager between 16 and 18 years old, and every teen hosting an American student attended the same school, the Lycée Pierre d’Aragon.

We Americans accompanied our host siblings to school on Thursday and Friday and got to see French teens in action.

We learned that boredom in class is universal, that French boys have impeccable fashion sense, that girls plan out their “Nexts (their next boyfriend after they break up with the one they have), and that a two-hour lunch break is absolutely heavenly.

Over the weekend, our host families entertained us in various ways; some students went to discothèques (dance clubs), some to museums and famous landmarks, and some shopping in the city.

On Monday morning, we bade a sad farewell to our host families, and laden down with gifts, we took another one-hour flight to Paris.

We toured the Louvre, climbed the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed a delicious dinner on the second floor (shredded crab salad, chicken in creamy mustard sauce on a bed of sautéed vegetables, and molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream), and finished our trip with a nighttime boat ride down the Seine River.

The next morning, we were back on Air France, enjoying another quality meal (spinach lasagna with egg salad, served with bread, cheese, and hazelnut cake).

Eight hours later we were back in Newton’€jetlagged, nostalgic, and thoroughly Frenchified.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/south-students-enjoy-french-culture-over-april-break/

URLs in this post:

[1] Parlez-vous francais? Moi aussi: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/02/15/parlez-vous-francais-moi-aussi/

[2] South speaks: French: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/south-speaks-french/

[3] Theft sends Spanish student back: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/theft-sends-spanish-student-back/

[4] A year abroad in France: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/09/23/a-year-abroad-in-france/

[5] South heads to Spain: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/09/23/south-heads-to-spain/

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