Daily Archives: January 12, 2019

Saturday Vibes!

All the students are enjoying free time with their host families this weekend! What an amazing opportunity to explore Rennes, its culture, and the surrounding areas with such wonderful local guides! Here are a few of their activities:

Zoe: This weekend I am going with my host family to St. Malo just north of Rennes. My host family has a house there and we will be staying Saturday night and returning to Rennes Sunday night. St. Malo is a town right by the sea bordered by granite walls which used to hold a kind of rest stop for pirates. For dinner tonight we had raclette, which is delicious melted cheese over boiled potatoes with charcuterie. It’s a little like fondue but much better. Tomorrow we are celebrating my host sister’s birthday by eating galettes and going to the beach and doing a bit of shopping.

Zoe and Juliette at the Saturday market — Place des Lices

en mangeant la raclette!

Susan: The first day of the weekend was great! I went to tennis practice with my host sister and then I went to a supermarket to get gardening tools with her parents. I met more of her friends at the tennis practice today. When we got home, we started to watch a French movie together. I’m looking forward to going to the beach tomorrow with them!!

Susan and her host sister!

le café: Chérie Chéri à Rennes

Tanya: Today we went to Saint Malo. It was windy and raining yet was still beautiful. We walked around town and stopped for lunch. I ordered a galette, which is a specialty of Brittany. After that we did some shopping, and my host parents bought me this beautiful pair of earrings. After that, we went to visit my host sister’s aunt, uncle, and cousin. Then we came home, watched a movie, and ate dinner.

Saint Malo

Les belles filles au bord de la mer!

la famille!

Saint Malo

Darian: I spent my Saturday with my host family in Rennes. In the morning my host mother and I went to one of France’s largest produce markets. The market was absolutely amazing and I learned that most people in France do not buy their food from super markets. I loved the market because you were able to talk to the people who made the food and you could be sure that the food you were buying was of good quality. One think that especially struck me was that at the stand for eggs that my host mother and I visited, the seller had pictures of his farm and his chickens. This struck me because in the US many companies say they are organic or cage free and then have scandals that they were lying. After the market my host mother and I went to a cafe and I learned that many young people will go to the market and then go to a cafe, converse, drink, smoke, and eat cheese and bread.

Reflections on Rennes

After several days in Rennes, the students have started to note some similarities and differences between life here and life back at MPS.

Tania: Shopping in Rennes is very different from the United States. One of the main differences is tax free. Foreigners are not required to pay taxes on merchandise in the European Union, which means that if you shop for more than €175.00, you can get about 8% of your money back. We have also noticed that there are more local small shops than big chains. The clothes/jewelry etc in these types of stores are local or handmade, and not imported like in many stores in the U.S. There are not a lot of shopping malls in Rennes, and the ones that exist are very small. By talking to many French students, we realized that shopping is a regular activity. Many students go shopping after school with friends.

Laura-Joëlle & Tanya: Compare/Contrast French and American High School

Throughout our time in Rennes, we noticed some differences between Lycée Saint Martin, the high school of our host students, and Porter’s. Here in the table, we highlighted some key distinctions:

Porter’s Lycée Saint Martin
Secular Catholic influence
Students smoke
45-50 minute lunch blocks 2 hour lunch blocks
School ends at 3:20 PM School ends at 6:00 PM
Decorations (posters, etc.) in the classrooms No classroom decorations
Snacking during class is tolerated No eating or drinking during class
Teachers have their own classrooms Teachers don’t have their own classrooms but instead move to different rooms each period
Classes are project- and discussion-based (led by students) Classes are lecture-based (teacher explains concept at board, and students take notes)
Students wear comfortable clothes for school Students dress up for school
Girls carry mainly backpacks for class Most girls use a purse or handbag for their books

Zoe: Besides the fact that French food in general is delicious, it is interesting to experience the different nutrition that the french eat every day. During the meals we have had here at the Lycée and during our homestays, we have seen how French meals are much more balanced than those in America, with lots of vegetables and a healthy source of protein (and of course some bread and cheese). In America, we have much fattier foods sometimes with no vegetables or good source of vitamins and normally way too much protein. French food is much more plentiful in so many ways. For example, one night I had a green salad to start with some olive oil and then beefsteak tomatoes stuffed with turkey sausage and roasted with some parmesan on top. I have loved eating the food here because even in the dining hall we eat very healthy and very delicious food. I can’t wait to try more!