Author Archives: mcrockett

Paris!!

We had an amazing day in Paris today!! We left Rennes on a 7:30am train and returned at 9:30pm. We had a full day of sights, snacks, some shopping, and fun!! M Février prepared the perfect tour/ plan for us, which took us all over the city! We actually walked over 10 miles!

The students have shared the highlights of their experiences below:

Darian: Paris was absolutely amazing! The city is exquisite and full of culture old and new. My favorite part of the day was either visiting the Eiffel Tower or L’Arc de Triomphe. I loved the Eiffel Tower because since I was young I’ve  wanted to learn French and visit France, especially with friends. I loved the L’Arc de Triomphe because I learned that under the monument are the unknown soldiers from WWI. Every night they light a fire under the monument to never forget the heroes who gave their lives for France.

Joi: Our day trip to Paris was full of beauty and wonder. We walked a total of ten miles all while learning about the city’s history, examining its amazing buildings, and admiring its meaningful traditions. What I enjoyed the most was looking at the details of all of the French architecture. From the very old Cathédrale de Notre-Dame, to the simple yet beautiful apartments facing the Seine River, to the grand and golden Palais de Justice, each building was filled with its own unique story and purpose. I loved how Monsieur Février, when describing where we were, never left out a single detail. Towards the end of the day. I even became able to notice the trends in French architecture through the designs of each building as well as recognize how they changed over time. Even when walking the Champs-Elysées, it often took me a minute to recognize the American stores we visit all the time due to them being built in gorgeous French styles. I would say I probably stopped every couple of minutes to take a picture. Despite the chilly weather, it was wonderful to be able to turn down any corner in the city and see something new and beautiful.
Zoe: Going to Paris was such as incredible experience for me not only because of the obvious beauty but because it was so much more breathtaking than anything in America. I have always wanted to live in New York because I love big cities with lost of history and things to do and Paris has all of that but of a much larger magnitude. The city in general has a charm that cannot be found in the states: the people are fashionable and cosmopolitan, the tourists respectful, and the buildings full of history. Seeing the massive cathedrals, Le Louvre, the Eiffel tour, and other landmarks was such a surreal experience and I am so grateful to have been able to do it all.
Laura Joelle: Here’s a blurb for Paris just explaining what we did:
Today we left for Paris at 7:30 AM (~1.5 hr train ride from Rennes to Paris), went to Sacre Coeur, ate a small meal at a café nearby, went to see the Eiffel Tower, took a boat ride on the Seines, saw Notre Dame, had lunch around 2:00 PM, walked outside the Louvre, saw Monet’s water lillies at the Musée de l’Orangerie, shopped on the Champs Élyssées, and saw the Arc de Triomphe. My favorite part of the trip was facetiming my parents at the Eiffel Tower!
Tania: Today, we went to Paris. We had a very hectic schedule, which would ensure that we would take advantage of our time in the city. I personally love Paris. It is my favorite city in the whole world. I was so happy I had the opportunity to spend some time sightseeing and learning about the city.
Susan: We took a trip to Paris today. Even though it was cold the whole day, Paris still looked stunning in winter. My favorite part of today were Musée de l’Orangerie and the free time we had at Champs-Élysées. The museum is not as big as the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay, but it has a very good collection of French arts. We also had a good time taking some pictures with the group, looking for food and stores, and just enjoying the city. Paris was amazing today!!

Kami: Today was Paris and probably the best day yet. With zoe Joi darian and Laura Joëlle, there was about the same amount of laughter as there was walking.  We didn’t do much shopping but plenty with our eyes. I’m getting really close to the girls and I’m noticing how effortlessly I can speak and hear French. It’s so fun being in a bilingual group. I.t has been a dream for so long to go to Paris, and today I accomplished it. I miss home a bit but being is so wonderful and so beautiful!!

Day 2 at the Lycée

Today, MPS students enjoyed a morning full of immersion classes! Students broke off into groups to observe and participate in a variety of classes at the lycée. They attended math, history, English, and French classes during the first two blocks of the day. During the third block, they all joined together to attend an English literature class. The students had an assignment of writing a Gothic style story, including particular elements and character descriptions. MPS students were able to help them with grammar, vocabulary, and creative ideas! To round out the morning, the group spent some time with M Février preparing for our trip to Paris tomorrow.

Literature class!

Like at MPS, Wednesdays are half days, so the students participated in a variety of activities with each other and their host sisters. Keep reading to learn what our students were up to!

Joi: Today started off by observing some actual classes. Darian and I visited the History of Geography, French, and English. We learned the rules of Lycée Saint- Martin yesterday (no drinking, eating, or using your phone in class), yet I was a bit surprised when I actually saw them being respected. The differences between schools in America and France are small but very impactful on the students’ performance. Since Wednesday’s are half days, my host student and I had lunch at home. Like all of the meals so far, it was delicious. However, my favorite was tonight’s dinner. We ate Galettes and for dessert, Crêpes, and it was very delicious. Galettes are similar to crêpes but unsweetened and with ham, cheese, eggs, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. They are a specialty of Brittany, the region of France where Rennes is located. My host family (and all of the people of Rennes) that I’ve met so far are very proud of this dish. They truly enjoy sharing their culture with others. My favorite part of the day is after dinner, when my entire host family gathers to watch French tv. Although it is usually a little hard for me to understand, my host parents are happy to explain the jokes, news, and whatever other entertainment is on at the time. They also love to ask me questions comparing my American culture to theirs. It ends up being a very interesting and pretty funny conversation. I feel very welcomed here, and I can’t wait to learn more.

TaniaToday was our first day of classes at Lycée Saint Martin. We divided ourselves into groups of two, and went to different classes. Susan and I started with French class, where students analyzed the play “Romeo and Juliet”. I noticed how the teacher took notes on a word document projected on the board, which students would then copy on their notebooks. The class felt very teacher-led and not student-led like Porter’s. Susan and I then went to Geography class. Finally, the whole France Intermission group met up again at English class, where we helped students write a story based on various gothic novels they had been reading. School on Wednesdays finishes at 12:00 p.m. After school, I had lunch and shopped in town with Susan, Zoe, and our host students. Sales started today, so we had lots of fun!

Zoe: Today I was able to attend three classes at Lycée Saint Martin; Math, English (language), and English Literature. It was very interesting to see the difference between the style of classes as opposed to Miss Porter’s and how the students were mostly independent and the teacher taught them lecture-style. After the classes the IM France group and M. Fevrier discussed our upcoming trip to Paris! We learned which landmarks we would visit as well as the proper etiquette for both the city and the trip over (In France commuters are mostly silent on trains and metros). Since Wednesday is a half day just like Porter’s, we had the rest of the day to spend time with our host students. My host student, Juliette, and I went to lunch with Tania and Susan and afterwards did a bit of shopping. I decided to buy a new sweater and a large scarf because all of the students at the Lycée and other people in Rennes dress very well so I wanted to have a few other nice clothes. Overall our first day of classes was engaging and delightful.

Tanya: Today was our first day of class immersions. I visited 2 English classes and History class. In the first English class the teacher and some of the students asked us questions about ourselves and America the whole time. The second English class we helped people write their papers. Since Wednesday is a half day I am able to now spend the rest of the day with my host sister and her meet her grandma later.

 

Bonne nuit, la belle Rennes! Et demain, on va à Paris!

Rennes: Day 1

Rennes’ City Hall

Cathedral at Place St Anne

This afternoon, we had a lovely walking tour of Rennes — led by M Février. Our students got to discover different parts of the city, learn about the customary architecture, and take in some of the region’s rich history! It was a bit cloudy but in the 40’s — so a really nice to day be out getting some fresh air.

Enjoy some of our students’ first impressions of the trip below:

TaniaAt first, I was very nervous to meet my host family. France is a different culture with different customs, and I was afraid I would mess something up. I shouldn’t have worried, since my host family has been extremely welcoming since I arrived to France. They have been very courteous, and attentive to my needs, and keep asking if everything is ok.

SusanMy host family has been very welcoming since I arrived at the house. They kept checking on me to make sure that I had everything I need and I am feeling well. They were also very curious about both the American and the Chinese culture. My host sister and I already made plans to hang out and go shopping in Rennes tomorrow. I am very excited for the rest of the time here!!

Laura-JoëlleRennes is very pretty; I especially love how the city is modern but retains visible aspects of its rich history, such the beautiful renovated medieval façades of the buildings in the city center. I was surprised that the population of Rennes is about 220,000, yet the city is so urban, unlike my hometown of Durham, NC with a population of 260,000 and a relatively small urban downtown. In my perspective, the urban feel of the city makes it seem a lot larger and busier. Also, today I had a ham and cheese “galette”–a staple food of Brittany that is like a savory crêpe–for the first time, and it was very delicious! Rennes is a beautiful little city. It has tons of small restaurants and boutiques that I am looking forward to visiting. I am very excited for tomorrow, since I am going shopping with my host sister and some of her friends.

Kami: I love Rennes! It’s so pretty and my host student and her friends are awesome. I have tons of conversation with her and her mother and I can tell that my French is improving. My host sister and her sister play cards and other games. Having crepes for dinner and as a snack is an experience. My host mom is fantastic and the food is even better!

Darian: My first impression of Rennes is that it is a very nice city. I’m experiencing a little bit of culture shock because a lot of things are very very different. For example, when my host student and I took the bus to school this morning it was 8am but it was dark out, all of the stores were closed, and there was not a single adult walking around outside or going to work. Another example would be that Monsieur Février informed us that the French government requires people the renovate the outside of their homes if it looks a little broken down. If the family does not have the money to renovate the French government pays for it and the family is forced to vacate the house. The purpose of that is to retain the old style that tourists come to see in Rennes. It struck me as very inhumane and not empathic to kick people out of their homes if they’re already struggling, money is tight, and they can renovate the outside of their home.

Joi: Today Monsieur Février gave us a walking tour of Rennes. I loved how we could see different time periods within the architecture of the buildings. From the Middle Ages, to the 14th century, to “Le Rennes Modern” (the modern day Rennes), it is clear that this small city is filled with beauty and liveliness around every corner. Everyone at Lycèe Saint- Martin as well as my host family are so welcoming. I was initially nervous about immersing into the French language, but they all have been very understanding and excited to help us improve our skills. I can’t wait for what comes next.

Tanya: Rennes has been great so far. My host sister is really sweet and welcoming. The city is really beautiful and historic. We learned a lot during the guided tour. After the guided tour we waited for our host students to finish school because they each finish at different times. We took the opportunity to go and explore the city ourselves. We went shopping and ate crepes.

Zoe: So far Rennes is one of the most unique and beautiful cities I have visited. The building are grand and the people are very chic. My host family has been telling me all about the city and interesting things I can do while here. I feel very very welcomed by the family and have been able to communicate well with them and develop a good connection even with the language barrier.

 

MPS takes on Rennes!