After traveling over 5,000 miles for 10 hours to cross the Atlantic, a group of nineteen adventurous French high school students arrived safely in the Land of Enchantment on Nov. 3 and enjoyed being immersed in a new culture and academic environment. The group from the Lycée Chateaubriand, a reputable public high school in Rennes, Britany, northwestern France, visited St. Pius High School for 10 days through Nov. 12. What a wonderful opportunity to learn about one another's culture and language and develop long-term friendships on both sides of the Atlantic. This visit is part of an exchange program that was launched by French teacher Mme Laurence Godret and the French school. Getting the program ready took over a year of planning.
Upon arrival, the visiting French students had to adapt to the American accent, which they are familiar with in the mass media, but not so within the walls of their classrooms. Indeed in France, high schoolers learn British English, not American English. In addition to shadowing Sartans at school to get a feeling for what the American educational system is like, the French seniors had an exciting program of activities during their visit in New Mexico. Some of the sites they were most impressed by included Acoma, Tent Rocks and the Jemez Pueblo, which they attended for a feast with the SPX Native American Club, the highlight of their visit!
Marc Le Nué and Fighane Pennec stated that they enjoyed the large open spaces, the diversity of the local, natural landscapes and the time and meals shared with their Sartan host families. They added “Red chile can be really hot here, but we definitely love the New Mexican food, especially the breakfast burritos, tacos, green chile burgers, and every single bite of American junk food.” What else would you expect from teenagers, even from France!
Two French seniors got to co-present the televised morning announcements on Sartan TV. “It was an interesting experience because we don’t do such activities in our school”, said French senior Armand Maurel. Finally, SPX students who study French at school got the chance to practice their French and ask many questions to their French guests about their culture and language. Ten days was short to live like an American and a Sartan, but it will surely leave a mark on these happy globe trotters as well as on the Sartan families who offered their hospitality.