If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably been noticing new people walking around campus! No, they are not new sophomores, but rather French Exchange students from our sister high school Lycée Polyvalent Charlie Chaplin in Lyon, France. These 10 students aged 16-17 will be staying in IMSA students’ dorms for the week and tour what our surroundings have to offer, going to places like Chicago and Fermilab. These students are neither totally fluent in English nor wholly ignorant. They will be sitting in on our classes and practicing their English, while French students can practice their French.
The relationship between the two schools has been strong for some time. The last time French students came to IMSA was 2 years ago, as some of the seniors fondly remember. Some IMSA kids also traveled to Lyon the past year and stayed with families there, so many students already are familiar with the guests that are staying with them. Although old faces may have gone, the students currently here are sure to make new friends with IMSA kids throughout their stay. The point of this exchange program is to give these students an “authentic American experiences”- allow them to see what life is like for an average American student. And this doesn’t include just attending classes, either. As stated before, the French students have the chance to travel to Chicago, which is an entirely new experience in it of itself. Chicago’s towering skyscrapers can often be a completely new experience for kids who have grown up in the small, quaint cities and streets of France. There are other ways to have fun too; for example, one French 5 student is planning on taking her student to Homecoming at another school. Since French students don’t have school dances, it’s a foreign but exciting way to introduce students to common events that take place in the United States.
It is evident that many students are excited for the program to take place. Devdhi Kasana (’16) states “I’m really looking forward to the experience. It’s interesting to see what they think is interesting. Compared to France, everything in America is bigger. It makes you realize that wow, people live very differently from what you think.” So if you see these kids in the hallways or sitting in your classes, don’t hesitate to give them a warm welcome. They might be shy at first, but once we make sure they see the true spirit of the IMSA student body, they’re sure to be right at home.