Bienvenue en Amérique!
Our foreign exchange student program here at HIES has once again willingly opened their arms to a group of 12 exchange students from France.
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Through our sister-school relationships with high schools in Japan, France, South Africa, and Argentina, HIES has been able to welcome foreign exchange students into our community for the past four years.
The main goal of this program is to teach the students about cultural awareness, while also allowing students interested in a certain language to study abroad and host a native student, facilitating a love for the language and the country as a whole.
Every other year, HIES students have the opportunity to travel to a country abroad in order to immerse themselves in the culture, language, and everything the country has to offer. While on these trips, students stay with a host family, attend classes, and experience the world through the eyes of a person from a different country. The memories built on these trips are ones that will be cherished forever.
2015 is now the fourth year HIES has hosted French students.. This year, 12 students from Briey, France have joined the community in hopes of learning everything they can about this beautiful country.
While in America, the “Frenchies” spend time attending classes at HIES, touring museums and experiencing Atlanta as a native. In addition, they enjoy the decadent food and American culture, while practicing their English.
Sophomore Isabelle Smith, excitedly made the decision to host a French student this year. She explained,
As the French students spend time at HIES, they are experiencing the life of an American student, while also learning more than they would’ve expected. This is proven through their 30 page packet filled with questions about America, which is to be filled out upon their return to France. This packet includes questions like, “Do certain English speakers speak differently than others?” and “Why is Georgia called the Peach State?” These questions may not seem like important ones to the average American, but they spark curiosity in the minds of a French person.
Some of the biggest culture shocks the French students have encountered thus far is the size of everything in America. Smith explained, “they were amazed by the size of our houses because their entire house is the size of a small apartment here.” Also, large cities in America like Atlanta are very commercial. Being students from Briey, France, nearly 4 hours away from Paris, they are not used to a big city filled with tall buildings practically everywhere.
As the week comes to a close and the French students say their goodbyes, the HIES community knows that the growth throughout this experience was tremendous for each and every person involved. This amazing program will continue in years to come and some of our very own students will travel to France to connect with these same students once again.