Olivier Roy and Cloé Maisonneuve experienced school in another country in March, when they travelled to France as exchange students from Ecolé Heritage in Falher.
They were part of the Nancy-Metz Reciprocal Exchange program.
“I improved my French when I was there and made new friends,” says Roy. “I got a different perspective of the world.”
His family hosted Arthur Lang from Lunéville in October 2015. Roy went to live with his family in March, and attended Lang’s school, Lycée Bichat.
Roy found the schooling there more complicated than at Ecolé Heritage. He attended right in the middle of their semester, with schooling from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. However, the curriculum there isn’t much different from Ecolé Heritage.
He found his host family to be very welcoming and they had weekend trips together, which included skiing and also travelling to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower.
Compared to the wide open spaces of the Peace Country, Roy found Lunéville and the Lauren region to be very densely populated.
Maisonneuve, who is also in Grade 11, went to Metz and stayed with Emma Bastien’s family. Bastien stayed with her family when she came to Falher in October 2015.
Maisonneuve attended Lycée Fabert with Bastien and she found it much bigger than Ecolé Heritage.
“It was very different,” says Maisonneuve. “It’s very big, with 2,000 students.”
The relationship between teachers and students is more professional and formal at Lycée Fabert. The teachers do not provide prepared materials to the students, so a lot of note taking is required.
The school has gym class, but like Ecolé Heritage, all the sports programs are outside the curriculum.
Hours of schooling varied from day to day.
Maisonneuve and her exchange family travelled to Paris and Luxembourg. The y also visited Fort bois-la-dame, near the family home, and she was impressed with its darkness and humidity.
This trip also gave her a different perspective about the world.
“It’s a very cool experience,” says Maisonneuve.
Roy and Maisonneuve encourage all students to try and participate in exchange trips.
Principal Nicole Walisser is pleased that Roy and Maisonneuve were given the opportunity to travel to France.
“Our two students developed a very strong relationship with the French correspondents,” says Walisser.
“This speaks to the quality of our students, their families and the school. They embraced the program as a cultural adventure and enjoyed being in a French-language majority environment. They also gained a new perspective of the Alberta-school system. We are very proud of Cloé and Olivier.”
About the Nancy-Metz Reciprocal Exchange program
The Nancy-Metz Reciprocal Exchange (Nancy-Metz being the region in France) Program is a collaboration of northern Alberta school divisions and the French Language Resource Centre of Grande Prairie.
Objectives: The goal of this individual supervised international exchange program is to give an opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge of the partner country as well as to familiarize themselves with the culture and the daily life. The formula of an individual student immersion experience fosters independence, self-confidence and the development of key intercultural competencies. The supervisory component of the program guarantees for the student an acceptance into the school of his or her partner, and integration into the courses, and monitoring during the duration of the exchange.
Admission Criteria: The program is specifically designed for autonomous and motivated students who are currently enrolled in a French course within their school and speak a basic level of French (A1 minimum and working towards an A2 level). They must also be capable to adapt to a new environment in which they are willing to be integrated.