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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

See City Sights in the City of Lights

French students travel to Paris over Spring Break
Courtesy of Elizabeth Carlin
Freshman Elizabeth Carlin and fifteen other French students travel to France over Spring Break with Madame Spallone

   Over spring break, freshman Elizabeth Carlin along with fifteen other French students and world language teacher Madame Spallone were stranded at Amsterdam airport, throwing a wrench in their plans. But unexpected situations can sometimes turn out to be the best experiences.

   “We missed our flight from Amsterdam to Paris,” Carlin said. “But Amsterdam was one of the most fun experiences of the trip because we all got a hotel room and we just wandered around Amsterdam for a while. It was a really good time.” 

   Once the students successfully made their way to Paris, they spent their nights with host families and experienced many cultural differences during their stay.

   “They do things a lot differently than my family. We normally eat a lot earlier, they’re eating at like 8:30,” Carlin said. “So it was a little hard to adjust, but they certainly tried to accommodate me as best they could.”

   This is the first year they have done this exchange according to Spallone. Originally, they were scheduled to go in 2020, but the trip was postponed due to Covid. 

   Carlin loved living with children her age. As an only child, she enjoyed the experience of living with “siblings” for a week.

   “I’m an only child, and they have three siblings, it’s a lot different living with people my age,” Carlin said. “But it was fun.” 

   The host families they stayed with took the students to many places around France. 

   “[The host family]  knew what to do,” Carlin said. They didn’t take us to the touristy things in Paris. They took me to a smaller area. It wasn’t packed with tourists, so it was just kind of an insider’s view of Paris.” 

   This trip helped a lot with the students’ speaking skills, Spallone  said. “They had numerous opportunities to talk to their host families and other French-speaking people.

   “Even though I’m pretty sure there was some English spoken I know that they’ve learned a lot of new words,” Spallone said. 

   During their time in France, students went to school with their hosts. The times at Notre Dame Des Oiseaux are much longer so they had to adapt to that difference. They rotated teachers and classrooms just like we do here so the students were used to that. 

   “They were not only excited to discover all the differences, but it also makes them grateful for certain things that they have,” Spallone said. “The days of school in France start at 8:30 and end at 6, sometimes 6:30. So the school days in France are very long, so they were super grateful that Trinity was done at 2:55.” 

   Notre Dame Des Oiseaux let students leave campus whenever they wanted to.

   “They have a lot more freedom and they have a lot more breaks throughout the day, at any age they can leave campus for lunch and so for lunch we would just go out for two hours and just walk around their French little town, it was wonderful.” Carlin said.  

   Spallone hopes to do this trip again, but it might not be every year. It takes a lot of planning, so for these students it might be a once in a lifetime experience. 

   Spallone thinks this experience is amazing. If you do this trip with your family you don’t get the chance of staying with host families. 

   “It was just a really fantastic experience,” Spallone said.  “We have sightseeing in Paris, of course, which is always gorgeous, but I feel the whole thing of going to school makes it a little bit more unique than other trips.’’ 

   Since they were different from the French students, they stood out while shadowing the school. They were often recognized as foreigners, which prompted many local students to come up and talk to them.

   “It was almost like being a celebrity,” Carlin said. “Everyone knows you as the American kids. It was a fun time, everyone kind of idolized us.”

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