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French exchange students come to town

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Aspen/Nantes exchange visiting Moab, Utah.

Aspen/Nantes exchange visiting Moab, Utah.

Photo courtesy of Ethan Godfrey

Photo courtesy of Ethan Godfrey

Aspen/Nantes exchange visiting Moab, Utah.

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Students and faculty at AHS take pride in the school’s international outreach, with the latest sample arriving in the form of the French Exchange Program. Every other year students from the Nelson Mandela school in Nantes, France come and spend two weeks with an AHS student, and the year after those AHS students visit France.

Diane Godfrey and Eric Lamb, both French teachers at AHS, are in charge of the exchange and feel that it has been, and will continue to be, influential to students from both countries.

“This year we ended up taking the French students to Moab and got to go camping, and for the French who don’t really camp as we do so, it was an amazing experience for them and they just loved to see everything in Moab as well as Aspen of course,” Godfrey said. “On the other hand, when the AHS students go there, we go to Paris for the first week and get to spend the second week in Nantes. So for the first half, we are more tourists, sightseeing in Paris, and then in Nantes, our students stay with the families of the French students and tour the city, spend time in the school, and explore. ”

Naturally, a trip to France is rather expensive, and in order to make the trip accessible to all students, the leaders have organized fundraising and a silent auction in order to combat costs.

“We started by writing a grant to the thrift shop, who ended up helping fund the exchange to help with the expenses and to get us going, and then the Creperie in town last fall hosted our fundraiser, as well as a silent auction, for the trip. So they split the profits of a funding dinner with us, so each student was required to bring at least four people to that event to raise money,” Godfrey said. “So we ended up raising enough money so that we could take 300 to 400 dollars off of each student’s costs, bringing the price down to 1,400 dollars in all making that big of a trip pretty affordable.”

Kip Royer, a junior at AHS, was unsure about the prospect of hosting a student from another country but says that the experience has completely changed his perspective.

“When I first signed up for the exchange program I wasn’t super excited about the idea of having a stranger come and stay with me, but we bonded really fast and he has become a good friend of mine. It’s always interesting to see pictures of his hometown and to hear stories of the place that I can’t wait to visit,” Royer said. “I would definitely recommend the exchange to anyone interested in travel, who would like to make new friends and learn about the other side of the world.”

Another participant of the exchange and a sophomore at AHS, Will Madsen, believes that the program has helped him to develop a new sense of cultural perspective.

“This exchange with the students from France has really opened my eyes about how different cultures can be. It is very interesting to watch as my French student experiences the smallest things that I take for granted in daily life. For example, one day we passed a snowmobile while driving home which my student had never seen one before and after explaining its use to him his eyes lit up,” Madsen said. “I can’t wait to go to France next year and experience their culture for myself.”

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About the Writer
Tatum Diemer, Digital and Online Media Editor

Tatum is a junior at AHS and this is his second year with the Skier Scribbler, now working as a Layout and Design Editor. In his free time, he enjoys skiing,...

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