Archive for Thursday, April 7, 2011

BHS students improve language skills during France trip

April 7, 2011

For 10 Baldwin High School students, a trip to France was not just about seeing the major attractions of Paris but also experiencing the country from those who know it best.

Baldwin High School French teacher Karen Moreau and 10 of her students traveled to France from March 14 to 28 to better understand the country and language they study. Moreau compares the experience of traveling with her students to a basketball team.

“I mean, you have practice and practice and practice but if you never actually have a game, what have you done? So, this is a French class, if I don’t get them in a situation where they’re actually going to speaking French, then we have no game,” Moreau said.

The students had to at least be enrolled in French II, but many were in French III and IV. Moreau said this was the 13th or 14th group she has taken to France.

“I think it was eye-opening in some ways, but probably less shocking and more of like, ‘oh, they’re more like us than different,’” Moreau said.

The trip began in Paris, where the group visited museums and landmarks such as Versailles and the Louvre. The students then spent a week learning about the French culture by living with a host family.

“We have some time together where they can kind of get used to the time zone and try to speak a little French, learn how the money works, all that kind of stuff, before they go into their home stay,” Moreau said. “And then the home stay is where they get to see what people are really like.”

Senior Zach McElmurry said the trip was even more than he expected. He expects to study abroad in college, and said France will be one of his top choices.

“I expected it to be fantastic, which it was and more,” McElmurry said. “It was a great experience and I’d happily do it again.”

While McElmurry said he spoke English more than he probably should have, because his host family spoke English well, his French improved as well.

“Mostly my listening improved because they just spoke so rapidly, it just wasn’t anything I was used to,” he said.

The next trip taken by Baldwin High foreign language students will be for a Spanish trip to Costa Rica next year. The next trip to France will be the following year.

“I expected it to be fantastic, which it was and more,” McElmurry said. “It was a great experience and I’d happily do it again.”

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