Monthly Archives: January 2018

Another day of classes and a visit to the Palais du Parlement

It’s hard to believe we’re already starting our second week in France! This morning, students reported to the Lycée for their second morning of class observations. The MPS students shadowed a number of different French students, who are in the “rose” and “azur” groups. The different groups determine the start time for the day and the order of classes. Some students began at 8am while others started the day at 9am. They have enjoyed observing and engaging with the Lycée’s students. After class, many ate lunch “à la cantine” while others went down to the Ville to grab a bite to eat — they’re practically pros at navigating the system now! They will have their last full-immersion day on Wednesday where they will return to their classes and continue to engage with their new peers and teachers.

Not even rain can stop us from learning!

After lunch, we visited Le Palais du Parlement de Bretagne, Rennes’ Parliament building, guided by a lovely young woman. We toured several beautifully adorned rooms, including the waiting room, the interior courtyard, and the Grand Chamber. We learned of three important dates in Rennes and Bretagne history: 1532, the year La Bretagne joined France, 1720, the year Rennes experiences “Le Grand Feu” where much of the historic city was burned down, and 1994, the year a fire destroyed the Parliament building. The building was renovated after the 1994 fire, so many of the rooms have been restored and maintain a beautiful appearance. During the visit, we continued to learn about both the symbols of France and Brittany and of the rich history they share.

Another successful day!

Breton Dancing and Crêpe Making

Last Friday, students spent the afternoon learning about the rich Breton culture. First, they took a Breton dance class where they worked up a sweat and learned some classic Breton moves and got to have wonderful conversations with a local dance association. After their workout, the students were hungry and ready to eat some crêpes! We had the privilege of having Mme Février, M. Février’s wife, come and teach us how to make crêpes. Topping included raspberry jam, caramel, sugar, and freshly squeezed lemon.  Delicious!

Here is a video that Jenny W. made from that day:


Weekend Student Reflection

Each day, students will share some aspect of their time in France. Here, Lilli A. talks about her weekend with her host family.

Lilli shares:

I had such an amazing time with my host family on Saturday. First we ate breakfast which for me was pancakes and Nutella (which I love) and then for lunch had a special dessert called Galette which is a traditional French dish. After lunch my host family decided to make this day the designated shopping day so the itinerary was to go to Ikea and then the mall.

This was my first time going to Ikea so when I actually went inside, I was amazed at how cool it looked. I wish I could’ve stayed there forever and looked at all of the sample rooms. After going to Ikea we went shopping in the center of Rennes and went to Pull and Bear, H&M, Kiko, and Bershka. I ended up only buying red lip gloss from Kiko, but we still had a fun time looking at all of the clothing together.

Afterwards, we decided to go to a cute store filled with stationaries, journals, candles, and other items that I loved and I ended up buying a journal that I can now write all of my experiences in. Overall, I had a great time this weekend and got to see Rennes in a totally different perspective.

Weekend Student Reflection

Each day, students will share some aspect of their time in France. Here, Dani Z. talks about her weekend with her host family.

Dani shares:

It was an amazing weekend in Rennes with my host sister. On Friday night we went bowling with some of the other french girls that had students from Porters and afterwards we went to McDonalds for dinner.

Friday night bowling

I had such an amazing time getting to know the other french girls and being able to practice my french. On Saturday night I went out to dinner with my host sister’s family to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday.

new friends

I had the chance to meet some of her cousins, uncles and aunts. It was so much fun! Today I visited  St. Malo which is a fortified city north of Rennes with my host family.

We walked around the beautiful city and went to a crêperie for lunch. Afterwards we bought some fruits de mer to eat for dinner tonight. I really enjoyed spending time with my host sister and her family.


What are we up to this weekend?

Our group is doing some pretty great things today! I asked students to share what they were up to and here are some texts I got:

“I’ll be watching my host sister’s orchestra concert and then we’re gonna go out to lunch, and later visit the planetarium together.”

“Spending time with my host sister’s family and going to Saint-Malo.”

‘We’re having lunch in the Ville today, and tomorrow going to Saint-Malo.”

“We’re going to the museum and the park today, and tomorrow we will go to Saint-Malo”

“I played badminton today, and tomorrow we will be going to St-Malo aussi!”

“I’m eating some amazing specialties this weekend (I made a galette!) ”

“I am at the Republique with m host family, and we just had galette, too! We are doing some shopping next.”

“We went to the planetarium and the Museum de Bretagne, and probably le ciné”

“I’m having dinner with my host’s friends and we are going to the shore tomorrow. My host sister took me to a graveyard for photography class today!”


Weekend Student Reflection

This weekend we’ll be hearing from different students as they share the wonderful things they are up to with their host sisters and host families. Check back for an updated post later today!

Today Gabby A. shares:

Today was pretty amazing. It’s my first part of the weekend with our host families! We began our day by going to a small farmers market in Pacé. We bought some chicken and food for lunch. There were so many stands with fruits and veggies, fish, meat, and flowers. We then returned home to cook up some lunch. After, we went to Cancale to explore the coastline. It was absolutely beautiful! Here, we bought 12 oysters to eat for dinner. I also bought a specialty of Brittany which is a bowl with ones name on it. After that, we went to St. Malo. We walked around and found ourselves at a crêperie! We ran into Mathilde and Annabel, too! We bought some more pastries to eat after dinner tonight. We currently have 2 Galette Frangipane and 2 Kouign Aman to eat! Overall, it was an amazing day discovering Bretagne! I am so thankful for such a wonderful host family.


Ready for the weekend

It is finally the weekend! After a very full first week, students now get to spend some quality down time with families. Each day this weekend, students will share some aspect of their experience in France. Today, we will first hear from Selina C. Later today we will hear from Lilli A. and Gabby A.

Selina shares:

As an American exchange student with a chinese background in Rennes, it has been a fascinating experience for me to navigate between the three very distinct cultures. On Thursday, we went to classes with the French students for the first time. I was amazed to find that there were a lot more similarities between the French school system and the system back in Taiwan and that the dynamic in a classroom at Lycée Saint Martin is really different than a class at Porter’s. At Porter’s, we are encouraged to learn through questioning and critical analysis, whereas at Lycée Saint Martin, classes are more exams-oriented like schools in Taiwan. It is so interesting to compare and contrast the French culture that I am newly exposed to with the two cultures that I am from.


I will be spending my first weekend in Rennes with my host family. On Saturday morning, my host sister has invited me to go with her to an event similar to our college fair, where she will get to know more about the schools she is interested in and the various opportunities that are offered. She told me that in a month, they would have to decide which field out of the three, literature, science, and economics, they want to specialize in. This is also similar to high schools in Taiwan, where in the second year of high school, everyone decides whether they will study in the field of liberal arts or field of science. On Sunday, I will be having a family dinner with my host sister’s cousins and her grandparents. I was told that they only come to Rennes once a year for this reunion, so I feel very lucky to be able to attend this occasion with them!


Week 1 Highlights!

What a week we’ve had! From meeting host sisters and families for the first time, to hearing about the history of Rennes and the Lycée, to learning how to make crepes and doing some amazing Breton dancing. We are all so grateful for the time we’ve spent together with our new friends and with each other. Check out this video with this week’s highlights!

Day 3: Learning and Growing

Today students attended classes with a new french buddy from 8:05am to 12:00pm. They attended English, French, Literature, Spanish, Physics, Chemistry, PE, and more. They got to see what lectures are like, how classes with 35 students work, and what an assessment at the Lycée might look like. We will hear today from Moira L. and Simrat K. as they share their reflections from the day. Moira’s reflection is in French so I hope you dust off those French skills!

Moira shares (en français):

Comme nous nous trouvons dans un autre pays, il va sans dire que nous devrons attendre des différences quant à ce que nous mangeons. Voilà ce que j’ai remarqué : d’abord, les français chauffent le lait qu’ils prendre avec les céréales. Je ne sais pas si c’est que les vaches françaises sont traitées différemment ou le fait qu’il est chauffé, mais le lait a un goût étrange. Mais c’est pas mal ! Ce n’est que différent. Aussi les français mangent bien plus souvent que nous aux États-Unis, et évidemment il faut plus de temps. Chaque fois que ma correspondante et moi rentrons à la maison on prend un goûter. Normalement c’est quelque chose de petit et de doux tel qu’une tartine ou bien un pain au chocolat. Et bien sûr on sait tous qu’en France ils prennent plusieurs plats pour le même repas. Au déjeuner à l’école il faut prendre une salade, un yaourt ou un fruit, un plat principal et un désert ( ce qui est normalement un petit chocolat ou quelque chose comme ça ). Quant au dîner, on prend autant de plats qu’au déjeuner. Mais à ce point je n’ai pas trop faim. Je finis toujours de dîner avant le désert parce que c’est trop de nourriture pour moi et que je ne veux plus bouffer. Ça fait environ trois jours dès qu’on est arrivées à Rennes et je ne crois pas que j’ai même terminé un repas, sauf mes petits déjeuners. Chez ma correspondante on peut sauvegarder les restes mais je me sens mal quand il faut les jeter à l’école. Je devine que c’est pourquoi ils mangent pendant deux heures. Je pourrais finir tout mais je m’arrête après une demi-heure ; je n’ai pas envie d’attendre lorsque je mange. Une autre chose bizarre que j’ai remarqué : pour prendre du jus en France, il faut ajouter de l’eau à quelques gouttes du sirop aromatisé. Je n’ai jamais vu une telle chose aux États-Unis mais enfaite il me semble que c’est plus pratique parce qu’il nous permet d’aller au supermarché moins souvent pour acheter du jus. Surtout, j’aime bien la cuisine française et je ne crois pas que j’en aurai marre bientôt, donc je suis vraiment contente et reconnaissante d’être ici !

Photo credit: Moira L.

Photo credit: Moira L.

Simrat shares:

Today we had our first day in classes. Everyone was very sweet and I made some very good friends. What I found most amusing was the PE class. I was told by my host sister that they were doing gymnastics in class but little did I know they would be doing backflips around the room or making pyramids. It was wonderful and I had a very great time!!

Above are some pictures taken by our group over the last few days. We hope you enjoy!