The Exchange Experience


Jessica Gavin, Contributor

Fifteen French, Spanish and German students set off on April 10th with Mrs. Davis and Madame Winter for Normandy, France. After a five and a half  hour flight to Heathrow Airport in London and an hour layover, the group took a one hour flight to Orly, France, after that a two hour bus ride, and then were picked up by their host families at Lycée André Maurois in Elbeuf.

 April 11th and 12th were spent with the students’ host families, and some students visited beautiful spots such as Étretat, Chateau du Champs de Bataille, or Versailles. The roads and sights were very different, and a lot of the time was spent accommodating to the new food, housemates and customs.

 On April 13th, the students toured Le Cirque-Théâtre and Lycée André Maurois in Elbeuf. They walked around the city and along the Seine River, stopping to visit a museum.

 On April 14th and 16th, the group traveled to the city of Rouen after a cramped one hour public bus ride. The first day was spent viewing the Cathedral, and shops along Rue du Gros Horloge (commonly called the road with the big clock). The second day was spent walking through a park and another museum with other stops in stores along the way.

 In Giverny on April 15th, the group walked through Claude Monet’s home and gardens.

 On April 17th, before the play “Resist” was put on by the French students, the group traveled to the countryside by train and perused the country markets with produce and clothes. The play was a big success and a lot of families hosted celebrations after. They also visited an animal farm that boasted a large exhibit where guests could walk along the paths right near the animals. There were many types of birds, monkeys, wallabies, deer and other animals.

 April 18th and 19th were again spent with the families, but on the 18th many students attended a second showing of the play.

 April 20th was a full day of school shadowing where correspondents went to a variety of classes depending on their French counterpart’s academic “track”, such as literature or science-based. Each class was at least a full hour and lunch was quite long, and many students had to stay at the school until around 5 p.m.

 On April 21st the students visited the Normandy beaches, bunkers and museums two hours away from Elbeuf.

 Many students had a half day of shadowing on April 22nd, and a small group traveled to Rouen to play laser tag and go to the Docks 76 Mall with several German exchange students who were also visiting at that point. Other students had family time.

 April 23rd was the last day in Rouen which was mostly spent shopping, but the group met up to have lunch in a crêperie. After the return from the city, the families cooked dishes for the farewell dinner where both French and American students played games, talked and took pictures. Later, the students went home to spend their last night with their host families.

 On the morning of April 24th, the group took a one hour bus ride to Paris to the youth hostel they would be staying in for the next two days. They visited a love-lock bridge, took a Bateaux Mouches river boat along the Seine, went up in the Eiffel Tower, and walked all around Paris.

 April 25th was also spent in Paris visiting the Catacombs, a restaurant, Notre Dame, and along the street. This was a very full day, and walking distance totaled around nine miles.

On April 26th, the group left Paris for Heathrow via Charles de Gaulle Airport. After the hour flight, there was a two hour layover before the six and a half hour flight home, then the hour drive from Logan that made for a 9 p.m. arrival.