Every year, any Manual student taking French has the option to visit a French student or have a French student visit them. This spring, several students, mostly sophomores, are participating in this exchange program by traveling to France.
Each student will stay with his or her exchange family for nine days, then take a trip to Paris for the remaining length of the vacation.
Hannah Phillips (10, J&C) recently contacted her host, 15-year-old Laetitia Sejourne.
“I got in touch with her two weeks ago. She texted me right after school and said she was sorry it took so long to contact me. They were supposed to contact us before Christmas break and she didn’t,” Phillips said.
The students were paired by interests, so usually they end up having a lot in common.
“She’s pretty much exactly like me,” Phillips said. “We like the same movies and we’ve both seen Frozen multiple times. She likes a lot of Disney stuff and so do I.”
Even though Phillips and Sejourne have a lot of personality-related similarities, there are still a few differences just because of the cultures.
“She goes to bed really, really early and I go to bed really, really late. With the time change, she’ll message me at three in the afternoon and then have to go to bed. When it’s three here it’s like nine there,” Phillips said. “She doesn’t really get the time change so she messaged me at like four in the morning once. So yeah, we had a full-out conversation from three to five in the morning.”
Madeleine Natalie (10, VA) is also getting to know her French exchange host, Coleen Joly.
“We have a lot of common interests but the time difference makes it hard to find a good time to talk to her,” Natalie said. “There’s also obviously the language barrier even though we’re both learning each other’s languages.”
Much like Phillips, Natalie is also a little nervous about staying with a new family in a new country.
“I was a lot more nervous last year, but the closer I get to the trip the less I’m nervous,” Natalie said. “Plus, I’m getting to know her. She isn’t just a stranger.”