French department makes highly anticipated trip to France April 23, 2017 — by Rahul Vadlakonda From March 31 to April 9, eight students, seven of whom are taking French and one who is taking Chinese, went on the school’s first trip to France in a decade. From March 31 to April 9, eight students, seven of whom are taking French and one who is taking Chinese, went on the school’s first trip to France in a decade. The group explored the country’s history and explored a language they traditionally could only hear about in a classroom. The trip was led by French teacher Elaine Haggerty along with two chaperones. The group visited Paris, Marseille, Avignon, Versailles and Aix-en-Provence. Sophomore Ali Lichtenberg, who went on the trip, said that despite several doubts, going gave him a better understanding of the culture and customs of the French people. Although the trip was centered around France’s culture and its people, Lichtenberg said that the trip helped him learn more about Portuguese culture, since he stayed with a Portuguese host family. Sophomore Vittorio Morini Bianzino, who is currently taking Chinese 2, went despite not speaking French for seven years. He had learned the language while living in Canada as a child. “My main problem was not understanding but it was on how to reply,” he said. However, French aside, Bianzino he learned how to travel more independently This trip was the first time Haggerty went with Saratoga students to France. She says she got great positive feedback from them. “All the students I spoke with [about what they thought of the trip] specifically said that they were very glad that they went and would recommend the trip to students going in the future,” she said. Besides practicing their French, Haggerty also said the fact students got to experience the culture of France was “invaluable.” She saw the students arsenal of French vocabulary grow as she reflected on how each student would always have a new word learnt, whenever she would ask them. Haggerty hopes to offer the trip in future years. While she would still like to take the students to France, she believes closer locations might be more preferable. “At this point, I would like to go back to France next year, and then the following year perhaps Montréal and Québec, which would be a less expensive trip and thus more students would go,” she said.