French Exchange: A Memorable Experience
From June 3 – 14, a Dominican student and a recent graduate, joined Jesuit students and traveled to Toulouse, France, following the first portion of an exchange in New Orleans last fall. The New Orleans contingent had the opportunity to live as French students in Toulouse. Each student stayed for nine days with a French student and his or her family and attended classes at the local Lycée Caousou, a co-ed, Jesuit high school. Students also visited nearby sites, including the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi, the medieval city of Carcasonne, and even took a ropes course – all in French! After Toulouse, the students traveled to Paris where they climbed The Eiffel Tower, visited the Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre, the Champs-Elysées, The Arc de Triomphe, and la Cathédrale Notre Dame.
Kris Plunkett, who graduated in May, was excited to reconnect with her friend, Marie, who stayed with Kris’ family last fall. “I couldn’t wait to meet her family. I wanted to see her world the same way she had seen mine. I knew France would be different than America, different than what I expected it to be. But it wasn’t the bread and cheese with every meal that surprised me, or how everyone bikes instead of drives, or even how formal people spoke. It was the things you just have to experience … how everyone walks in the street, even though there’s sidewalks. Or how every time you leave a group of people, exit a store, get off a bus, you always say have to say “have a nice day!” or “thank you!” The best part of the experience were those little things that you can only learn by going there. I am so grateful to have been able to go – I could never describe exactly how fantastic the trip was, though I’m sure my friends and family are tired of me trying!”
Student Grace Brown described her visit to France as an experience of a lifetime. “We got to tour France and see things that the usual tourist would have missed, simply because I had such an amazing host family. Learning about a new culture and walking in the footsteps of another in a foreign place shed a new light and helped me gain a new perspective on French life and culture.”