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Vestal HS students complete French Exchange

On Thursday March 21, a group of Vestal High School students (ages 15 - 17), departed from JFK to VHS’ French sister school, Lycée Saint Riquier in Amiens, France where they started their French exchange journey. Upon arrival, their French hosts (the majority of whom came to Vestal in the Fall to participate in the US portion of the interscholastic exchange) greeted us with « Bienvenue » signs and smiles. While in Amiens and the high school, students participated in many classes (Math, PE, and English being their favorites), visited the beautiful city known best for the author Jules Verne (Around the Word in 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth), toured the Cathédrale d’Amiens, and floated through Les Hortillonnages, the city’s floating gardens. Students participated in daily life with their exchange partners, which included going to sports, riding public transportation, walking (a lot!), eating traditional dishes as well as American classics with a French twist, and of course, speaking lots and lots of French!

After a beautiful farewell dinner, students left by train to the city of Tours, where they toured Leonardo DaVinci’s castle, Château Clos du Lucé, as well as Château Chenonceau. After visiting the Loire Valley, they ended their journey in Paris, the City of Lights, where they saw all the important sites including the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Élysées, the Catacombs, the Notre Dame de Paris, and the Eiffel Tower (at night while the lights twinkled!). In between sightseeing, the students took a fencing lesson as well as a macaron baking lesson.

By the end of the trip, students were exhausted but were delighted to have participated in this once in a lifetime experience that helped them learn about other cultures, progress in their language skills, and discover more about themselves.

The French Exchange happens every two years and is coordinated by Elizabeth Ait Oumessaoud, the VHS French teacher.

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