Every other year, the BHS French Department travels to the wondrous nation of France. Students are given the opportunity to spend their spring break overseas, to really soak in the culture they have been studying in class over the years.
Jason Swanson is a member of the Language Department, and teaches French levels 1-5 here at BHS. He has been the primary chaperone for the last 7 trips, and has had a first hand experience of most students’ very first interactions abroad. Over the years, he has developed a general consensus of what students experience and enjoy on the trip.
What are some activities that students do on the France Trip?
“There are two parts to the trip, the first part we do an experience with a family. We stay in a town of about 30,000 people and we get to experience what a school day in France would look like. We also do our own tours, we go to the ocean, we get to shop, and we get to explore caves. The second part of the trip would be 3 days in Paris. We go and see the obvious sites, and we also go to museums.”
Do students generally have a favorite activity?
“During the family stay, we go to these massive sand dunes right around the beach. That tends to be a highlight for a lot of kids. We also do a boat tour of the whole city, and I think a lot of students enjoy it.”
The French trip seems to have something for everyone. Whether it is visiting iconic buildings like the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre, and several notable museums and cathedrals such as Notre Dame. The trip to France is commonly met with high praise from students and chaperones. However, there are certain rules and requirements for students interested in the trip.
Is the France trip available for all students?
“No, you need to be a junior or senior in at least level 3 or above.”
Are French students allowed to bring non-French student friends along?
“No, you do need to be a part of the French program to go.”
What parts of the trip does the school pay for? The students?
“It is fully student funded. The France trip is organized through a non-profit organization in Minnesota. They organize the flights and the trains and hotels and all that stiff. “They do the legwork.”
If you are interested in joining the French trip, which is tentatively scheduled for 2022, the first step is course registration. Students must be an upperclassmen with at least 3+ levels of French experience. The French trip is a great experience, but is best summarized in Mr. Swanson’s own words.
If you had to summarize the French trip to a non-French student, how would you?
“I would say that it gives the student an 11 day opportunity to really thoroughly understand what I am trying to bring to class. It gives a very real world experience to the material. You increase your skills, your speaking ability, and it allows you to practice in a comfortable setting.”
Photo Credit: “Paris” by barnyz is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0