2015-03-21 / The Rock

French exchange students experience less time in American classrooms and more time enjoying Person County snow

By Starr Johnson

On Feb. 14, 12 French exchange students (nine girls and three boys) traveled from Haguenau, France to Roxboro to meet their host families and to spend time in Person High School (PHS) classrooms.

Then, the unexpected happened. PHS students missed eight days of school due to winter weather.

PHS French teacher Greg Turner said, “Despite missing so many school days, the French exchange students were able to tour the PHS campus the first Monday they were here.

"On Saturday, Feb. 21, the exchange program organized an Uptown Roxboro walking tour that included visits to the Kirby, the jail, and lunch at American Hero” for those who remained in town due to the winter weather shutdown.

Other host families decided to brave the roads and cold to travel with their French exchange students to other towns.

Turner shared that some were able to visit New York City, Washington D.C., Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Wilmington, and the Fort Fisher aquarium along the North Carolina coast.

On Monday, Feb. 23, French exchange students and their hosts traveled to Greensboro to visit the Civil Rights Museum and later stopped by the Tanger Outlet Mall in Mebane to shop.

PHS French exchange host Alexandria Hooks, her exchange student and family, “watched movies and played the Wii video game system” when the winter weather confined them to her home.

“But as soon as the roads cleared, we tried to get out as much as possible,” said Hooks.

Karla Murrietta, another French exchange host, said she enjoyed building a snowman with her exchange student, as well as meeting others in the program at Palace Pointe to bowl and skate.

Of the experience, Murrietta said, “It was amazing. I was lucky enough to host the student who hosted me when I went to France in 2012, and it was really awesome being able to hang out with her again. It helped us to get to know each other better and to be able to build a stronger friendship.”

Other PHS students who hosted French students were Camryn Leirer, Chelsea Ferrell, Greyson Morris, Kamryn Dickey, Matthew Mayer, Meghan McCowan, Sidney Stiltner and Ryan Benjamin.

There are cultural differences between France and America.

Turner said, “The differences range from types of food to types of transportation. The French do not see many pickup trucks in France, and their cars are generally much smaller and far less powerful than our American cars.”

So even though the exchange students had little time to see what takes place in an American high school, they were exposed to American life.

The French exchange students said farewell to their host families at the Raleigh-Durham airport on Friday, Feb. 27.

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