Hosting Student Group from France

For many years, I have been trying to get a group of French students into our area. The main causes I haven’t been successful is the timing has never worked. In my first years of teaching, I worked full-time during the summer. Then, as life continued so did the passing goal of hosting a group of students. Married one fall and baby the next year…it seemed I had excuse after excuse to justify not organizing a group. Finally, we took the plunge and hosted a small group during spring break this past school year. The first hurdle was convincing a group to visit Wisconsin.

Who wouldn’t want to visit Seymour, Wisconsin? The best part about Seymour is the people. I find the community of Seymour to be welcoming, gracious and caring. We do not have the Empire State Building but we do have a warm hearted community. We work hard and enjoy the closeness of families. It is also a wonderful place to work.

Langauge and Friendship is a company based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have had the privilege of working with them since 2000. They found a group for us that fit our needs. We were so excited! Their pictures and profiles came into my classroom. The excitement was contagious. Everyone couldn’t wait for our French students to arrive!

Whenever you have the opportunity to travel with students or host students, you never know what is going to happen! This year, our group arrival date was the time of the Icelandic volcano eruption. They were delayed 6 days. I cannot imagine the stress the organizing French teacher must have felt during that time. Email after phone call, all of my hosting families told me the same thing. “We are so sad about the student’s shortened visit. Is there anyway they can stay longer?” It was the best possible reaction.

Six days later the students arrive. You must try to imagine this scene. All of the ten hosting families were there…some with all of the siblings. My students are holding banners and balloons. Bienvenue…Welcome to Seymour. The yellow school bus arrives down the highway and turns into the parking lot. All of my families are yelling and cheering. They have finally made the trip!

On the second day of the trip, our school was hosting prom. Many of the American students brought their host student to the prom. It was a wonderful cultural sharing of teenage life and fun! The students attended classes with their hosting student. All the students felt very comfortable in our school. We took a few local field trips to Lawrence University and Lambeau Field (of course).

The students were a wonderful addition to my French classroom. It was a living curriculum. We were saddened when the students’ trip quickly came to an end. It was a wonderful experience for our community and school. I look forward to hosting again in the future!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica Brogley
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 03:20:41

    All your hard work paid off. I know my sophomores just loved your exchange students. They enjoyed comparing cultures and just learning from one another. Can you get any more real than that?! Imagine what both sets of students learned. I’ve never traveled abroad, but I am willing to bet the the culture if France is very different than good ‘ole Wisconsin. What an excellent experience!


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