French Exchange Program Returns in 2015

Twenty-one French exchange students, 11 girls and 10 boys, will  arrive at Stratford in early March 2015. Ms. Rachel Chabot, Upper School French teacher, instituted this exchange program in 2010, when Chabot first came to Stratford.  The exchange takes place every two years.

“This [the French exchange program] is an incredible experience.  First of all, it’s great for our students to have foreign students in the school.  It exposes them to real people instead of movie stereotypes.  It’s interesting for them [French exchange students] to see that America is not a country filled with the stereotypical blonde cheerleaders and football players,” Chabot said.

The  French students will be in Macon for about two weeks. While here, they will be housed with Stratford families.  Joseph Slappey, senior, will be hosting a student.  “My family is very interested in experiencing different cultures and learning what life is like for other people all around the world.  We have kept in touch with all of our exchange students and hope to visit them in their homes,” Slappey said.

As part of the exchange,  Stratford students plan to travel to France this summer. Thomas Slocumb, junior and AP French student, will be one of the students going on the trip. “I did it my freshman year, and it was cool to see what actual French kids are like. They’re really similar to us in a lot of ways, but they’re also really different. Also, it’s a good way to really immerse yourself into the language,” Slocumb said.

Chabot is not only excited about the students coming here, but she is thrilled about our students traveling to France.

“The trip back is incredible because we stay in a small French town.  We do touristy things in Paris for four days, and also spend a week going to their schools and walking around their tiny towns, seeing what France is actually like,” Chabot said.

Going to France may seem challenging due to the language, but Chabot and Slocumb are confident that our students will be able to communicate.

“We speak French all the time in class, so our students are very ready to communicate and are going to be great,” Chabot said.

“I think it was the most valuable thing that we learned from, other than their friendships; you have a hard time at first, but then the more you communicate with them, the more you understand about the language, ” Slocumb said.