501 3c Organization

Riverwood Students Live, Study In France

Ten students and two teachers from Riverwood International Charter School traveled to France during the summer of 2018 for a language and culture immersion experience. The group spent two- and-a-half weeks in Paris and Biarritz as part of Riverwood’s second annual French language and study abroad program. The students lived with local families, attended classes, and participated in activities and/or excursions each day. According to Riverwood French teacher Brett Edeker, who travelled with the students, “A French immersion program like this is important because it helps increase confidence, both in language and character, for students who immerse themselves in a new culture and learn through new experiences.”

Another Riverwood French teacher, Holly Fitchette, also travelled with the group. The rising 10th through 12th grade students began their trip in Paris, where they spent three days touring the city and visiting landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. Other highlights were stops at world-famous museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, as well as a traditional three-course French meal. After visiting Paris, the students travelled by high-speed train (TGV) to Biarritz, a coastal town in southwest France Basque Country. There they lived with local families and attended a world-famous language immersion school, the Biarritz Language Courses Institute. Students attended classes in the morning and participated in cultural activities each afternoon. They visited the nearby cities of Bayonne and Hendaye and spent a day in San Sebastian, Spain, where they sampled local “tapas” specialties.

Riverwood student Carys Barnett offered: “You can take all of the language and history courses you want, but if you really want to learn, traveling and experiencing a culture is the best way you are going to learn about it.”

Added trip participant Oscar Ventura, “It was an experience of a lifetime. The people were welcoming and kind, the food was great, and I enjoyed getting to know my host family and making new friends.” In support of its International Studies and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, Riverwood organizedseveral international trips in 2018: a service trip to Nicaragua over Spring Break 2018, and separate trips to Spain and France during summer 2018. The school plans to add additional international trips in the future.

Some of the 2018 trips received support from the Riverwood Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to support initiatives that enhance the learning experience for Riverwood’s students.

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