France trip revived after 5-year hiatus

May 6, 2023 — by Amy Luo
Courtesy of Elaine Haggerty
A group photo in Monaco, France.
Over Spring Break, French teacher Elaine Haggerty led 15 students to Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Nice.

During Spring Break in the second week of April, 15 students traveled to France on a revived trip led by French teacher Elaine Haggerty and retired Spanish teacher Arnaldo Rodriguex.

Haggerty also brought students to France during Spring Break in 2017 and 2018. After the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this year’s trip marks the first in five years it has happened. Haggerty said she was “thrilled” to finally host the trip once again, noting its potential to become an annual tradition. She actively encourages her students to participate in this cultural experience.

“The best way to learn a language is to go immerse yourself in the language,” Haggerty said. “I love being in the French environment, surrounded by culture, like cafe culture, good conversation, and beautiful architecture, especially the colorful, Italian style houses in Nice. The trip is a great opportunity for students to apply the skills and knowledge after working hard in class.”

Of the 15 students who went, seven were freshmen and eight were sophomores. While 13 take French, the trip was open to all students, including those from Los Gatos High School.

Students stayed in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Nice, cities Haggerty chose to provide a comprehensive overview of both the north and south of France. While traditional hotels were provided in Paris and Aix-en-Provence, many students chose to stay with host families in Nice to facilitate language learning. However, the language barrier proved to be challenging for most students, and communication was often difficult.

“It was my first time using a foreign language,” sophomore Zahra Jeevunjee said. “And it was interesting to be surrounded by all the cultural differences.”

Throughout the 8-day trip, students also saw famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Jeevunjee said their day in the colorful town of Monaco was a highlight, with the city’s vibrant colors, shopping opportunities, race cars and architecture making strong impressions.

“It was an immersion experience to learn about French culture, and I also got a chance to speak the language,” Jeevunjee said. “I enjoyed the trip because it was with a smaller group of students and we had lots of free time. I thought it was all really, really beautiful.”

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