Comment c’était, vos vacances en France?

Cathy Zhuang, Staff Writer

     In just ten days, thirty-nine students from the Central Bucks School District — seven from Central Bucks South — toured the lands of France over the summer.

     Was the trip, costing $4,000 per student, worth the money?

     “It was definitely worth the money for the experience!” exclaimed Cassie Sullivan, an AP French student at CB South.

     Students spent four days in the town Orléans and then four days in Paris.

     “We were able to visit so many of the famous and recognizable landmarks in France,” stated fellow AP French student Olivia Romano.

     Among such landmarks were a multitude of castles, cathedrals, and museums. Students also visited a winery, a cheese farm, and an opera house.

     Daily activities ranged from swimming in the Loire river to shopping around department stores. Student favorites included visiting Monet’s house, while others enjoyed exploring during free time and simply experiencing the new environment.

     New environments, especially foreign ones, always require some type of adjustment. In France, adjustment meant distinguishing between road and sidewalk and becoming accustomed to a relaxed atmosphere. It also meant coping with the smell of cigarette smoke.

     “Everywhere I looked, I saw people smoking, and I saw many cigarettes on the ground,” remarked CB South AP French student Riley Pewterbaugh.

     However, adjustment did not only mean pinching noses; rather, adjustment also meant trying authentic French food.

     “The Escargot was actually really good, and so was the potato dishes,” said Cassie. Others voiced compliments for France’s food as well, noting quiche and foie gras. Even Madame Chemin, a native French teacher at CB South, praised a chocolate mousse for being “out of this world”.

     Adjustment necessitated students to muster up the courage to speak to strangers. Students soon realized that French people, contrary to the common misconception, did not hate Americans, and appreciated when people attempted to speak their language.

     “In America, I don’t often talk to strangers, but in France, we were encouraged, and it helped a lot.  After we did it the first time I just felt more confident about my speaking abilities,” Riley explained.

     In fact, France was beginning to embrace American culture as well.

     Madame Chemin commented, “I try to go back every year and what strikes me the most each time is the influence of American culture on music or entertainment in general. There were a lot of messages in English written on clothes or on advertisement posters. Often the English is wrong or has mistakes in it. It’s embarrassing…”

     For some students, this field trip confirmed their decisions to study abroad.

     For all students, this field trip formed friendships, new experiences, and the best of memories.

     Madame Chemin hopes the CB District will keep these trips, as do many students. In her own words, “I believe traveling is a crucial part of learning a new language and experience a new culture and I hope that CB will continue to provide this opportunity to our students to allow them to grow as respectful and responsible citizens.”