Today was a special day, since our students were able (finally) to go to classes with their hosts. This meant, of course, that some of them spent most of the academic day in classes, while others stayed in classes for only a half day. (Still others, Winter for example, took a trip to Germany today with her host sister and friend!!) Wednesdays for some students are very short days, while for others, they may be full, depending on the kind of academic schedule they have. Most students know by the time they are in ninth grade which area of studies they will follow. And, it is quite unusual to change paths once a student has chosen either sciences, maths, literature, art, etc. Close to one third choose technical schools. The photo of the school in this entry is the main building of Lycée Kastler, where our host siblings go to school.
Things are beginning to wind down here. Two more days in service (Thursday and Friday), followed by an evening of “good-byes” in dinners and parties. Saturday, of course, is coming all too soon for most of us.
The temperature is perfect 61º F and sunny. All of our students are continuing their discovery of the Alsace region and surrounding countries, food and other specialties such as : Kougloff, choucroute, baeckeoffe, flammekurche, lamala, Easter chocolate just to mention only a few of the delicacies one can eat. Simone told me that she finally discovered the fabulous city of Strasbourg. On a different note, Marie-Louise’s family took her on a hot air balloon ride “Montgolfière” which she loved.
Today Cheri and I went for a visit to the local schools where the GS students are helping with counting, reading, playing games, singing, creating art projects, and much more. We were thrilled to hear that all of them are much appreciated in their respective service by the teachers. Their participation and contribution to the daily life of the children are invaluable and the children truly seem to enjoy them all by demonstrating a lot of affection toward them.
At the end of their long day of service which ended at 3.45 p.m., some of them went along with their correspondent to a class at Lycée Kastler. I saw Alessandra with Orane on their way to a biology class. Soon after, I ran into Marie-Louise and Marine who were heading to a Spanish class and Chris and Arnold to water polo.
Max and Marcus are looking forward to tomorrow, Wednesday, to spend the day at Lycée Kastler shadowing their correspondents in all of their classes for a true French high school student’s experience.
by Winter ’16
Today was our last day in Paris. We got to sleep in, and if we wanted, we had another opportunity to go shopping. At 11:00 a.m. we gathered and departed from the hotel to the metro, to the train station. At the train station we had half an hour or so to purchase food for the ride back to Guebwiller. Somewhere in this thirty minutes, Marcus managed to spill yogurt and granola all over his pants, shoes, and the floor. We quickly cleaned up that mess and boarded the train. Short story even shorter, we napped for three hours or so. Continue reading
Today, we returned to our schools for service. I went back to l’Ecole maternelle, where I helped to supervise activities and play with the kids at recess. At lunch, we all went to eat in the cafeteria at Lycée Kastler to share some jokes and to tell stories about our kids. Following lunch, we returned to our schools until 4:00 p.m., at which point some of us left to go home and others chose to hang out until all the French students were finished with their classes. We finished the night with some dinner and some time for relaxation.
by Marcus ’16
Sunday is just as lazy here as it is back home, and for that I am endlessly grateful. After walking around Paris for dozens of hours, I needed a break from moving around. Today is also the first full day with my second host family, so aside from being a bit fatigued, I was also a bit excited to get to know the daily life of my family.
Marcus and Winter being silly on the train to Paris.
Lisa, my host sister, shares a variety of interests with me, specifically painting and drawing. She, like any reasonable teenager, had been procrastinating on her project up until a week before it needed to be presented for an exam grade. Luckily, the project was an imitation of sorts of the very famous and very peculiar Pablo Picasso, whose work is, though very revolutionary and artistic, relatively easy to make a substantial mimicry of. She worked with diligence and we discussed when and where artistic decisions needed to be made and applied. A few hours later, a near finished product produced, and both of us were proud of the results. Continue reading
by Brian ’15
Today we woke up later than yesterday due to the long night at the Eiffel Tower last night. At 9:30 we set off to Montmartre. The group almost attempted “The Stair Challenge” but in the end we chose to take the easy walk up the hill. Our first stop was Sacré Coeur, but before, we stopped at a carousel. It was a good way to bring back our childhood memories. Afterwards, we headed to the church. Inside, there were multiple religious statues and many people were worshiping.
After eating lunch near the Place des Tertres (the artists’ square where dozens of artists paint and sell their wares), we stopped by the Love Wall. On this wall is written “I love you” in all the world’s languages. Then, we took the nearby subway to the Charles Pompidou Modern Art Museum area, walked around and then went to a shopping area. The underground mall (three floors underground!) was large but since I’m not a shopping person, I went to a McDonald’s and bought a McFlurry. Continue reading
by Alessandra ’16
With a fresh start in the Jardin du Luxembourg, this day went from blue sky to frigid, high winds very quickly. After visiting the Musée d’Orsay, we had free time for lunch and shopping, then a fabulous dinner on the Champs Elysées. The group went on their way to the Eiffel Tower as the sky lighting got darker and darker and the winds increased incessantly. The highlight of the evening was most definitely nightfall at the Eiffel Tower We approached all together with the sparkling tower ahead (every hour, the lighted tower flashes and sparkles for about five minutes). After probably ten minutes of group photos and selfies, we got in line to head to the top. Continue reading
by Max ’16
I’ll be honest, a good portion of today was spent entirely on the train to Paris (three hours). In the morning, we essentially woke up, had breakfast, and headed to Lycée Kastler from which we went to the train station. BUT, once we finally got to Paris, we were able to see the Louvre, and of course the Mona Lisa, which was definitely overhyped. I preferred the Islamic art section, and the art from Syria, since I’ve never had much of a chance to see art and sculpture like that before. My favorite thing though was riding up the river Seine and seeing different sections of the city from the water. Even though it was just the river and not open water, the wind, the boat and the water made me wish my dad was with me to experience the city with me.
by Simone ’16
Today I started the day by waking up at the usual time of 6:20 a.m. and ate a breakfast of a “Pitch” snack cake, which is the equivalent of a French hot dog bun sprinkled with chocolate chips inside. We then walked about fifteen minutes to the bus stop, and then had to wait about twenty more minutes in the cold air for the bus to come. (I was regretting bringing my Northface and not my heavier coat!) After about a twenty minute bus ride, I met up with the rest of the GS group to walk to the “Jardin d’Enfant,” the day-care/preschool where we work. I was placed with the older group of the youngest children, aged 1-2 years. They did not talk much, for which I was rather thankful, because I did not have to struggle to understand them as much! (When I worked Monday with the 4-5 year olds, they looked at me weirdly a lot when I said the wrong thing and they called me out when I said “oui” to questions that were not yes or no.) Continue reading
by Marie-Louise ’16
Today was the first day of service, and our first day of accompanying our French correspondants to their high school, Lycée Kastler. It was evident that the early wake-up call was a challenge for most of us, as we arrived with eyes half open and reluctant to get to work. But soon after we split up to walk to our service locations, where we spent the day helping out in classrooms of various sizes and ages. Continue reading