Une aventure fantastique !
I love my job! This summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel to France with an Xperitas group composed of three schools from Minnesota and Illinois. When this group chose the La Vie en Provence itinerary months earlier, I could not have been more excited about it! I absolutely adore the South of France. My mother was born and grew up in Aix-en-Provence, and we traveled extensively to the South of France with my family when I was young. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
We started our journey in Paris, taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this incredible city. It took a little while for us all to get settled in, but Paris never disappoints! There is nothing like taking a bus tour of the "City of Lights” and seeing the Château de Versailles. We also enjoyed a walking tour of the Jardin des Tuileries, before continuing to the Champs Elysées and, of course, the Arc de Triomphe. We were so lucky, because the weather was absolutely beautiful from the beginning to the end. It did not even rain on us once! Perfect weather, perfect trip (or vice versa)!
After four days in Paris, we took the TGV to the South of France and enjoyed the beauty of the French Riviera en route to the group's family stay in Aix-en-Provence. For the next six days, students stayed with a local host family and experienced what daily French life is like. For many students, this was the highlight of their stay, and when they felt they made the most strides in their French language development.
After a tearful good-bye with their host families, the group visited Nimes and the Le Palais des Papes before sampling la cuisine Provençale. We toured Promenade des Anglais and la Vieille Ville with its maze of narrow pedestrian streets. And of course, we ate a lot of great food! The tour ended with a lovely farewell dinner as a group.
One thing that I enjoyed above all else was bonding with the teachers and students on the language program. I only spoke in French to them. It was so amazing to see that, by the end of the trip, students were having conversations in French with me and with the locals. They became so eager to practice, and their confidence in their language skills exponentially grew. Plus, all students from the three schools became friends with each other. It was so great to see that they got on so well for the entire tirp. I will never forget that last evening our group spent together. Our farewell dinner was just the perfect ending.
At the airport the following morning, I told everybody that I will miss them terribly and that I loved sharing these two weeks with them. I'm pretty sure the feeling was mutual. It's always bittersweet at the end of an immersion program, but I have a good feeling that many of these students will return to my home country of France someday.
Looking back, I feel forutnate that I was able to spend some time with my own family while I was back in France. I was also able to meet up with several different traveling Xperitas groups and meet with some of our local family stay coordinators. I feel so blessed to be able to visit these wonderful people and places. I was able to make it to Le Mont-Saint-Michel, which is one of my favorite places. Overall, this was such a great way to spend a good chunk of my summer that I am already looking forwarding to accompanying more students to France next yearl
Me with some of the lovely traveling teachers in France!
Le Mont-Saint-Michel !