At first, senior Kate Newman was a little nervous about meeting students from Holy Innocents' French sister school.
Would she be confident enough to put her French-speaking skills to the test, she wondered.
But, after quickly learning both American and French students think similarly and have much in common, Kate said "au revoir" to her worries. "They are very nice, and it's a great experience to have them here. I feel like my French has gotten a lot better," she says. "Now, speaking has become much easier. Sometimes, I actually start talking in French on accident."
On March 27, 10 students and two teachers, Martine Faye-Gallinatti and Ida Sartori, from Lycée Louis Bertrand in Briey arrived in Atlanta for 10 days and began their educational journey at Holy Innocents'. The students followed the schedules of their American hosts, who also accompanied them to the CNN Center and World of Coca-Cola on April 1.
Our guests say that, through their visit, they've improved their English and learned much about American culture. They also learned what it's like to attend Holy Innocents'.
Sophie Langlard says at her school in France, they do not wear uniforms and classes begin at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. Fabien Mantione says since classes are longer in France, students do not have as much time to participate in sports as American teenagers do. "Sometimes it strikes me because they are more free in class," he says. "It's a different way of life. I like it."
Morgane Robert, who says sometimes students attend school on Saturdays, thinks the trip was a good experience to see life in America. Victoria Chaillou agrees. "America, for me, is a very beautiful country, and it's very different from my country. The culture is very different, and I like it," Victoria says.
For Cedric Corzani, meeting the Holy Innocents' students and faculty in person after video chatting with them through Skype is like a dream. "I think it's my most wonderful travel (experience) because everyone is very welcoming," he says.
Martine Faye-Gallinatti, the French/English-speaking teacher, says the students learn so much from these exchanges. "Being a partner of HIES is really an opportunity to cross borders, on several meanings; first, of course, geographically speaking, but that’s not the most important as far as I am concerned. The most important is the fact that pupils, both French and American, share so many things; language speaking and thus improving it; discovering the partners’ culture and way of living (which we do hope Americans will do next year when they come to Briey)," she says.
"Amazing," "outstanding" and "emotional" are the words French and Spanish teacher Gerard Gatoux used to describe the week of their visit. "Having French students and teachers at our school makes us better persons and global citizens," he says. "I would like to thank everyone at HIES for their warm welcoming, especially the host families for their love and generosity. Special thanks also to Meredith Many, Dylan Deal, Wendy Albrecht, Sarah Wood, Chris Durst, Kirk Duncan, Rick Betts and Christine Stafford for their generosity and help."
Donc à la prochaine...
The Holy Innocents' student hosts and French guests were:
Meg Yanda and Morgane Robert
Laura Sullivan and Cédric Corzani
Holly Spalding and Sophie Langlard
Kate Newman and Victoria Chaillou
Channing Stephens and Xavier Schramm
Channing Jones and Amélie Testa
Sarah Hamill and Mélanie Gasparrini
Stacia Schacter and Fabien Mantione
Kai Street and Jordan Goeuriot
AP Taylor and Charles Jeuniaux