Mt. Vernon High School recently sent a group of 6 students and 3 administrators to Québec and Montreal, Canada to experience French culture and utilize the French that the students have learned in school. Mt. Vernon has been pursuing trips similar to this one in order to advance the goal of expanding the district’s international program and immersing students into other cultures.
Mt. Vernon High School principal, Mr. Greg Roach; Director of Elementary Education, Mrs. Heather Noesges; and Mt. Vernon High School French teacher, Mr. Joe Freeman, were the three administrators that traveled to Canada. The six students that attended are all students who have completed French I. The trip took place on September 6-9th.
Those on the trip had the pleasure of walking along the cobblestone streets and visiting the port, shops and boutiques, and the ferris wheel of Montreal. They also visited the historic Old Québec and saw the shops and aquarium that Québec has to offer.
Mr. Greg Roach stated that, “the culture was very friendly and inviting,” and that many French Canadians were very nice and excited to talk to the students. Mr. Freeman supports this statement, saying that the French speakers met them enthusiastically with however much French they were able to speak.
Though the students did have some difficulty translating the French that they learned in school into practical use, Mr. Joe Freeman says that the Quebecois French speakers were “empathetic with regard to our imperfect use of French.” Mr. Freeman also noticed several similarities between French speakers in Canada and those living in France, including food, fashion, and a “certain joy for living.”
Emily Rollo, a sophomore who went on the trip, describes Québec and Montreal as “so culturally different,” from what she’s used to in Indiana. She continued on to describe seeing students use public transportation and “cram their way onto the bus.”
Mrs. Heather Noesges recalled enjoying the sight of “watching Mr. Freeman interact with his students. What better way to expose our students than to have them in actual culture?” She continued to say that every moment was a teaching moment for Mr. Freeman.
Mr. Freeman believes the trip was “well worth the time and expense and gave the students who chose to go a taste of things French in their own backyard.”
This trip not only impacted the six students and three administrators, but it impacted the international program as a whole. The trip acted as a learning experience, and also as a survey for future trips. The trip as a whole students the importance of learning about other cultures and languages. The students are also able to now draw on real life cultural experiences in class, and share them with their fellow students.