Photo courtesy of Amy Jo Hyde
BSM had a special visit in February and during BSM’s World Language Week from a group of French exchange students. The French Students got to experience what life is like in the U.S. and at BSM.
BSM families hosted 11 French exchange students February 18 through the 28. The students stayed with 11 different junior high host families over those ten days. There are also 28 other French students visiting Minnesota that are are staying with host families at Minnetonka East Middle School, Valley View Middle School, and Southview Middle School. Two English teachers came to the U.S. with the students, the students are from two different Catholic schools (Saint Francois and Yves du Manoir) in Versailles, France which is about 20 minutes outside of Paris.
15 BSM students will go to France over Spring Break and visit Paris and Nice. BSM, Minnetonka East, Valley View, Southview, Saint Francois, and Yves du Manoir all use Vistas in Education plan their trips. “They are the same company that the BSM students will travel to France with over Spring Break. They set up trips to France and also host programs here in Minnesota,” French teacher Ms. Amy Hyde said.
The students, all in grades 7-9, chose to come to BSM for their spring break. “Students in France have a two-week Winter Break in February, so they have chosen to come to Minnesota to live with a Host Family, attend school and do excursions in the Twin Cities. They want to improve their English,” Hyde said.
The French students got to go on different trips in Minnesota with their BSM host families, including a snowmobiling trip, a trip downtown, ice castles in Stillwater, Minnesota, the Minnesota Zoo, a couple of Minnesota Wild games, and a trip to the Mall of America. The students were shocked at how big the mall was and the amount of people and shops that were all in one place. “The mall has the biggest shops I have seen and an amusement park; there is nothing like that in France,” French 8th grader Gaetan Mounier said.
The students also spent a few school days at BSM and got to see what it was like to go to school in the US and how it is different. “I like the computers in school at BSM; we do not have those in France. In France we have a way longer lunch time for a one and a half hour and two 15 minute times to go outside during school and play games like football (soccer), basketball, and handball. The schools here are bigger than in France,” French 9th grader Antoine Thuillier said.
French students compared class in the US to class at school in France. “We think the teachers are easier to talk to in the U.S.A. because in France we cannot leave the class during class and we cannot talk at all. We have no lockers in France because we always say in one classroom all school day, the teachers move around the school to us for different classes,” French students Alexia Lebert-Chauvin and Anaelle Horvelin-Clech said together.
The visit from the French exchange students overlapped with BSM’s World Language Week. The world language classes met with the French students during their language class on Monday, February 26th. All of the students met in the chapel and the BSM students had a Q&A session with the French students and some of the Chinese students who are staying at BSM all school year. They got to ask them questions in English and the French and Chinese students answered back in English with a little help from Hyde. “I thought it was a great experience, I thought it was cool getting to meet and talk with students from other countries, and we got to hear what it is like on the other side of the globe,” sophomore Davis Fortney said.