Classes for 27 French immersion students at St. Francis School here will be a little different in February when they head off for a one-week exchange with students in Quebec City.
The 27 local students in grades six and seven will spend a week with host families there from Feb. 3-9, speaking French and learning about French culture, before the 30 Quebec students also participating in the exchange come here April 28-May 4.
Dave Ouellet, the French monitor who is organizing the trip, said this is the first time St. Francis has done this exchange.
“This [exchange] is to improve their French and learn a new culture,” he said Tuesday.
Students will take a bus to Thunder Bay, where they’ll fly to Quebec City. Once there, they’ll stay with a host family, go to school for a day, have a tour of the city, and attend Winter Carnival activities with their hosts.
“The kids are now very excited,” Ouellet said. “A lot of the kids look on the Internet or in books to know more about Quebec City to be ready.”
The trip received funds from Sevec, a federal government program encouraging exchanges between French and English Canadians.
Pam Hawley, whose 12-year-old daughter, Jennifer, is going on the trip, said the exchange is a great learning tool.
“They’re really exposed to our bilingual country, something they don’t really see in Fort Frances,” she said, adding some of the students already have become acquainted with their new friends.
“They already know each other on the Internet. They have been e-mailing each other to learn more,” Hawley said.
Hawley also noted both her daughter and the girl she’ll be staying with are on a swim team so they already have been sharing their fastest swim times and other things they have in common.
Still, Hawley said the students also are curious about the possible differences between Fort Frances and Quebec City.
“My daughter did ask, ‘What about TV and radio. Do you think they’ll be in French, too?’”