Indiana, PA - Indiana County

UNITED: French exchange students welcomed at school

by PATRICK WALKER, Gazette Student News Reporter on November 02, 2012 11:30 AM

ARMAGH -- On Oct. 22, four French exchange students arrived at United High School from Vannes, France.

Although they were clearly nervous about meeting American high school students, the American students were simply excited; the possibility of hosting this exchange had been discussed and planned since April of this past school year, and now it was finally happening.

[Read the full roundup of area high school news from the Gazette's network of student news reporters every Friday in the Student News section on The Indiana Gazette Online.]

The families of senior Cabot Bisbee, senior Sara Hill, junior Calvin White and sophomore Erica Hirsch each hosted a student for approximately a week.

The French students' first day at United included a tour of the school, and they spent time speaking in classes about the differences between their school and ours. Throughout the day, the room of French teacher James Dykun was filled with students who were eager to hear what these French students had to say.

On Oct. 23, the exchange students and their hosts visited the Flight 93 National Memorial outside of Shanksville. Regarding this trip, White said, "It was a great yet somber experience to show the French students what happened on the tragic day of 9/11."

All of the exchange students returned to the school on Wednesday and spent the day observing "a day in the life of an American high school student" as they tagged along with their hosts.

On Thursday, the French students toured Pittsburgh.

Exchange student Vinciane LePaih told Hill that she liked the city but wasn't used to being around such big buildings and highways.

Finally, White hosted a tailgate party for the French students before the football game on Friday to celebrate their stay here at United.

Both Hill and White agreed that the best part about hosting the French students was showing them our culture and learning how our daily life differs from theirs.

They also agreed, however, that when it came right down to it, all of the students had many things in common.

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