French foreign exchange host students reflect on their experiences

Marking the end of a two week visit from France, the exchange students left October 17, leaving their hosts behind to share their experiences.

“Overall, it was good,” Junior Lia Tejada says. Many of the hosts seemed to enjoy the visits, but there still were some obvious problems. One was Tejada’s own schedule as she was so busy she didn’t get to accompany her exchange student the entire time. “We both had a lot of activities, so I couldn’t go everywhere she wanted to go,” she adds.

Junior Alexia Amick also encountered some shortcomings. “The main trouble I had was just communication,” she says. The language barrier between Amick and her French student frequently made it hard for them to understand each other.

In spite of these issues arising, the hosts managed to show the exchange students around and share their culture. The French students shadowed the hosts at school for two days out of the two weeks, getting an inside look at the typical day of an American high school student. On the weekends, the hosts brought the students along to local restaurants, museums, and tourist destinations.

The hosts also noticed some changes in the atmosphere with the exchange students around. They express how students overall created a more friendly and inviting environment during the two weeks. “I think a lot of people were a lot nicer because they wanted them to have a good experience here,” Tejada says.

The two weeks caused not only the French students, but the hosts to take something away from the visit. “I definitely have a better understanding of our cultural differences now,” Amick says. Not only did the hosts find their exchange students unaccustomed to the American style of education, but the social interactions and manners of American kids were also things they weren’t used to.

Because of fulfilling their duties as hosts, the students who created the welcoming experience for the French students have the choice to be part of an exchange experience of their own. The students will either have the chance to go to France or Spain this summer.