French exchange students say bonjour to California


Véronique Lamothe

Clarisse Bell, a freshman, shows her French exchange student Anaïs Dugast around San Francisco.

Emma O'Connor, Staff Writer

The sand, the waves, and the sun. Those and many more reasons attract people to California like a magnet.

Since the start of spring break, French exchange students have been experiencing the true California lifestyle with the help of their host families showing them around the area and fully immersing them in American culture.

This trip was set up by FACES, a program that coordinates homestays. The process started with the French students filling out a questionnaire and writing a bit about themselves. These profiles were then sent to Carlmont students and allowed them to choose which French student they would like to host.

Clarisse Bell, a freshman and the host for Anaïs Dugast, said, “You are instantaneously put into a situation where you are forced to be with this person 24/7, and while to some people that might sound a bit difficult, for me it is an automatic best friend.”

During their two week stay, French exchange students stick close to their American families and tag along with the students at school. Often, they go sightseeing in San Francisco and go to the best local stops which allows the French student to see the city while bonding with their host family.

Katya Burton, a Carlmont French teacher, said, “The French students have been very open and perceptive, and they just love being here, they love experiencing the bay area and Carlmont and all the tech companies and just how different everything is.”

While our school goes from 8 or 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., their’s goes from 8:30 a.m. to 5-6 p.m. Their schools also don’t have any arts or sports programs, so if they’re interested they need to look outside of school to participate in those activities.

Liane Brown, a senior and host for a French exchange student, said, “It’s nice to learn from him and his culture, and it has overall been a really good experience just talking to him and comparing the differences between America and France and French teenagers and American teenagers.”

Students that participate in this program usually have good experiences and get to learn more about French culture. By spending lots of time with their French students, American students learn about their diets, schooling system, and much more.

“We, as Americans, tend to be centered so much around our own culture that sometimes it’s nice to have a reality check and meet someone who is from a different country and different culture so we can learn from them and their practices,” Brown said.