Every two years, a group of new faces walks through the doors here at William Byrd High School.
When they walk through the doors it’s like stepping into a whole different world. They are surrounded by a whole new culture and language. These students are a part of the French student exchange program here at WBHS.
“It’s interesting to compare and contrast our cultures and to see how we’re alike,” said freshman and French II student, Emily Basham.
French students at WBHS are given the privilege to have the students live in their own homes during their visit.
“They can see what us Americans do and it helps them with speaking English,” said freshman French II student Ana Martha Lopez.
Being around the French students made the students more aware of their progress. It was interesting to watch as the WBHS students gained confidence in their own foreign language skills.
Many of the students who participated in the program as hosts saw many benefits in this program.
“I loved it. It was a really good experience. I got to practice my French and it gave me a good chance to experience a different culture,” said sophomore and French III student Elise Tuck. “It helps to expand your knowledge of the language by speaking it”.
For some, it was not only a learning experience but also a great way to make new friends.
“It’s probably my favorite part of my entire high school experience. Every year, I make a lot of really good friends,” said senior and French IV student Cassie Groff.
The experience is beneficial culturally, and it can also impact students’ future careers by being bilingual.
Students seemed to have a positive experience and were hopeful the program continues.
Groff saw many of the practical benefits the program gives.
“You really learn how to speak in conversational French. Things get a lot easier and it helps you comprehend the language,” Groff said.
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