by Jared Geoghan
Twenty-nine French exchange students will arrive at WHS this Wednesday. The visitors will spend a week in the U.S. shadowing their American hosts and sight-seeing in New York City.
According to French Teacher Ms. Marie-Laure Hoffmann, the French students are all seniors in a special advanced English program; they will be hosted by WHS juniors and seniors enrolled in French who are able to understand and speak the language.
Said Hoffmann, “The objective of this trip is to enhance students’ French language proficiency and appreciation of the French culture through the opportunity of a full exchange experience.”
Senior Kaitlyn Larkin participated in the exchange last year. She said: “I found myself more comfortable listening and speaking the language and began to adore it even more. It was interesting to learn ‘argot’ [slang] and mannerisms that they don’t teach you in French class.”
According to Hoffmann, in the fall of 2004, the Educational Attache to the French Consulate contacted her to participate in a letter exchange between WHS and a school in Paris, which resulted in a successful exchange of letters, packages, CDs and videos.
Added Hoffmann: “After my French colleague [from the] College Andre Citroen retired, I turned to my alma mater, Lycee de la Folie Saint-James in Neuilly, a close suburb of Paris. The current exchange ensued.”
According to Exchange Coordinator Ms. Laure Labarbe, a teacher from Folie Saint-James, the best part is seeing her students enjoy their stay in the U.S. and making the most of the time with their exchange hosts.
Labarbe added: “The most beneficial aspect for the students is the opportunity to meet and live with an American family. Attending lessons in an American school is probably also very interesting, [with] the French educational system being quite different.”
Said Hoffmann: “My favorite aspect is to see students developing friendships with someone from a different culture, seeing them learn from one another. The exchange experience is a highlight of a student’s time at WHS. That’s priceless.”