Au revoir, Frenchies

While some people are basking in the Florida sun on Band Tour, taking family vacations, or just enjoying a week of sleeping in and relaxing at home, 15 Ames High students will be on a two week adventure in France. The AHS French Trip is one of the most exciting trips the school offers, but since it happens only every other year, and the exchange program with French students places them in the US during the summer, the trip does not get as much publicity as it deserves. The trip is, however, very well-known in the French department, and has always been popular among the francophiles. "I’ve always heard great stories about the trip from people who’ve gone in the past, so I had to jump at the opportunity to go," junior Sarah Gutowski said. "I’m just going so I can see what France is actually like, since our textbooks are from the 80’s and don’t give a very accurate depiction," senior Amanda Johnson said. "Unless everyone in France has hair like A Flock of Seagulls and wears acid-washed jeans and over-sized sweatshirts. Then it would be very accurate." The students will be in France for the week of spring break and the week after that as well. For the first week, they will tour Paris and stay with French families, who all live in the Paris metropolitan area. During the second week, they will tour the beautiful regions in the northern part of France. In past years, the coast of Normandy has been a favorite site; this year the group will also be visiting Bretagne, Tours and Chartres. While seeing other parts of France is fun and a great learning experience, most students can’t help but be the most excited about their days in Paris. "It’s a place you always hear great things about and it’s arguably the most famous city in the world," senior Erinn Uhlmeyer said. "All my life I’ve been told how amazing Paris is, so I can’t believe I’ll be there in a few weeks." Students who have been on the trip before confirm that Paris is the biggest draw. "Normandy and the other places we visited were awesome, but it’s all about Paris," said Aubrie James, a graduated senior from last year who went on the trip two years ago. "Everything about it is so different in the best way possible-the streets, the people, the food- and it’s just the coolest place. I think my favorite moment was going to a market in Paris, although riding around on the Metro was also unexpectedly fun." Elation is not the only emotion the students are feeling though. Many share typical concerns about world travel, and, mainly, about the week they will be spending with a French family. "I’m excited for the homestay, but worried about using the wrong word while speaking to them and it being embarrassing," senior Amanda Johnson said. "I think it’s going to be a great learning opportunity, but I’m still pretty nervous about it," Gutowski said. The worries could not possibly overshadow the excitement of the group, however. The group is prepared for an action-filled two weeks and all are looking forward to a fabulous time in a place they have spent so much time learning about.