Carlmont prepares to welcome French exchange students

It's time to clean the house, prepare the guest bedroom, and plan family dinners. Carlmont students are about to host French exchange students.

The Carlmont French Exchange Program has been hosting a small group of students from France every year since 1999, according to French teacher Katya Burton. This year, the French exchange students will be staying from April 9 to April 21.

Burton said, "The students come here for a cultural and linguistic immersion. They will live with their host family and shadow their host student at school."

Ideally, the French student would be able to participate in a host's extracurricular activities to get a feel of the life of an American student.

Host students are excited to meet their French students, and many of them have already started communicating through email.

Sophomore Michelle Tenin said, "In eighth grade my French teacher introduced us to the idea of hosting a French exchange student. He made it sound like a really cool experience, to be able to make a new friend from a different country. I've been asking my mom ever since, and she finally said yes."

Exchange students are encouraged limit contact with their family back in France so that they fully immerse themselves in American culture.

Tenin said, "It's kind of strict and maybe a little unnecessary, but it is also so that the student feels like part of your family. They are here for such a short time, and this way they truly get the most out of the experience."

Sometimes there aren't enough host families for the students applying to come to the United States. As of right now, one boy still has not found a host family.

For students from both sides, this is an enriching experience to make new friends and learn more about another culture.

Burton said, "It has always been a really great experience for the students who participate. This year, there are quite a few students who hosted last year who are traveling this summer to stay with the family of the student they hosted."