A Bethel and French Connection

Taylor Freitas, Journalism Student

Bethel High School has welcomed twenty-eight students along with their teachers from Saint Afrique, France. Each exchange student is staying with a host family right here in Bethel. The travelers have twelve days in the US to go on trips, shadow their host, and learn all about the American culture.

On Sunday, May 1st, the exchange students arrived at BHS around 6:30 p.m. where their host families were waiting to pick them up. The French had to be extremely tired because it was about 12:30 a.m. in France.

Bethel High school math teacher Michelle Bradshaw and her family, including student Carolyn Bradshaw are hosting French exchange student Anaïs Dufau. “We were here waiting for them Sunday night and Carolyn and Anaïs went to the grocery store to get foods that she would like for our home,” says Mrs. Bradshaw.

The French students and their traveling teachers were up early the next morning to tour New York City where they saw the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and South Street Seaport. The group also had a chance to walk around the city. Exchange students were able to visit Boston and will be going to taking a trip to New Haven.

“Anaïs couldn’t stop telling us how much she loved Boston. She was telling us how she even ate too much there because she loved the food and asked for a Coke the next morning to fix her stomach,” adds Bradshaw.

Student Services Administrative assistant Cheryl Hallock is hosting French Student Arnoud Garlenc. Arnoud has been shadowing her two sons Steven and Matthew Hallock who are both students at BHS. “Arnoud is very polite and very nice and we love having him as a guest. He speaks very little English but he still communicates well with us.”

Besides learning about the area, the students will have about three days shadowing their host at BHS. On Tuesday May 3rd the French attended a full day of school and some were even interviewed for the BHS TV show which can be seen on BeTV.

“Anaïs said her day in school was more fun and interactive than in France. It’s more of the fact that our school encourages students to work collaboratively whereas there it’s just lectures and note taking Anaïs told us,” added Bradshaw.

On May 6th the exchange students gave a presentation to Bethel’s French classes and host families on their region of France. For two hours the group shared pictures and stories in English. Some of the students are fluent in English whereas others speak very little; this presentation gave all of the French students time to work on speaking another language.

This weekend the French students have no planned trips or events so that way they can get to know their hosting families a little better. Students Molly Nichols and Abby Heinemeyer are taking their French girls to the mall to get manicures and pedicures and take them shopping the American way. The Bradshaw’s plan on taking Anaïs to some baseball and soccer games since there aren’t any sports in Saint Afrique. Arnoud will also be meeting the Hallock’s family and having a barbecue with them to experience a party here.

With less than a week left before they depart, the French students have a busy schedule ahead of them. They will surely learn a lot about historic places and the American culture. Bethel High School has done a great job with helping these exchange students get the best experience possible.