Voyage a la France

March 30, 2018

Last year many students opened up their homes to foreign exchange students from France. This year the tables were turned and Johnston Students were given the opportunity to travel to France over spring break. “[I wanted to go on this trip] because I hosted last year and I have a connection with a student already,” John Leimer ‘18 said.

Students boarded their plane set to land in Lyon, a large city in the southern part of France on March 7. From there they would take a bus to the suburb Saint Étienne for their home stay with their French Exchange students.

He was also excited for the opportunity to speak French consistently. “The home stay was a big thing for me because I’ve never been so immersed in a language, where had to use it and talk to people,” Leimer said. “It is nice to actually be in a place where I can make mistake, I can be imperfect, but I can still talk in French.”

While Leimer was excited for the home stay and seeing his exchange student again, he is also nervous about the tables being turned. “[I’m nervous about] the home stay because I’m in French 2, so I only have one year of French behind my belt,” he said. “I only confidently know the simple present, and I vaguely know the past tenses, so just the lack of tense and grammar makes me nervous.”

The home stay was also a selling point for Alisa Capehart ‘19. “What really made me what to go on the trip was my host student, that I hosted last year, Léa,” she said. “We became really good friends and I just wanted to see her again.”

Not only do they get to live with a host family for a few days but they also get to visit various popular and historical attractions. These adventures include riding bikes along the Mediterranean Sea, visiting a Roman aqueduct, and walking to a pilgrimage spot are a few of the significant place on their itinerary.

Capehart thoroughly enjoyed the scenery in France, she particularly enjoyed the pilgrimage spot. ““The most memorable moments would be the views,” she said. “They were beautiful. [One day] when we went up to a church, which was on a very steep hill, we could see the whole town.”

While the sites were a great aspect of the trip, it seemed that the food was a highlight to the trip.

Prior to the trip French teacher Tamara Andrews described one of the food endeavors planned. “We will go to a chocolate factory and have a tour,” Andrews said. “ In the tour of the chocolate factory they will give us free samples and it’s all in French of course, and in the end we can shop and buy wonderful chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies.”

Leimer was fascinated by French cuisine. “The way they do food over there is just really different,” he said. “They have more specialty shops, where we have more grocery stores. They have grocery stores too, but they have shops that specialize in bread, cheese and dairy, and butcher shops.”

It was all smooth sailing though, there were a few complications through the trip. “We had some people lose passports, but they eventually got them,” Capehart said. One person had their passport until we got to Detroit, and it literally got taken from her because she had it in her hands. So Ms. Gray had to stay back with her and they met us later in Lyon.”

That wasn’t the only passport complication during the trip. “On the way back, one person left their passport on the plane and had complications in getting back on the plane,” Capehart said.

By the end of the trip Leimer was ready to go home. “I loved my trip and I loved France in general, but something about not getting to see my family or most of my friends for a week [was hard],” he said.  “I wanted to return home just to take and shower and go to bed.”

Capehart wasn’t quite as ready to head home. “ I had mixed feelings,” Capehart said. “I really loved France, so I really wanted to stay. At the same time, I wanted to go home and see my mom and my dogs.”

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