Each day, students will share some aspect of their time in France. Today, we will hear from Annabel H. and Selina C. as they reflect on their experience so far.
Yesterday we were able to take a day trip to Normandy and explore Utah and Omaha beach. It was an incredible and moving experience in many ways. One thing that interested me in particular was the way France and the United States interacted at Omaha beach. Since it is territory that the US leases from France, it was fascinating to see the two cultures and nations mix together. It was subtle things, like english being written before french throughout the memorial. However, it was also more obvious in the lack of french flags at the graveyard. One of our core values resonated with me throughout the day: connectedness. The interactions between the French and Americans evident on both beaches, the museum and the graveyard were a physical symbol of the relationship, but the testimonies of American soldiers and the French people they helped liberate were even more compelling. They detailed accounts from different perspectives, yet both ultimately spoke to how emotion transcends barriers of language of country.
Today was our last day of going to classes with the French students, it was a bit sad to say goodbye to the friends we’ve gotten close with over the past week. Although we’ve been part of their classes for only four days, everyday we got to meet new people and became friends with them after exchanging stories about our own background. We even made promises to stay in contact and visit each other in the future! This cultural exchange has been really memorable and eye-opening for me!