French Students Visit Friars and Chicago

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By Angelina Larrea
In early November, Fenwick welcomed a dozen visiting high school students from France, Martinique and Guadeloupe. The students’ visit to Fenwick was part of a program in which French speaking students are given the opportunity to experience American culture by visiting select high schools, and Fenwick had the honor of being the only Catholic school they selected to visit on their national tour.
At Fenwick, the visiting students spent a day observing and interacting with students and staff. They were given tours of the school, assisted in French classes and spoke with Fenwick students. The French students were looking to further apply their English speaking skills and to experience American culture.
Fenwick French teacher Ms. Corrine Heinz welcomed them into her class. “To me, the events that stand out were the spirit of fun and teamwork during my class, when everyone was working together to speak French and English,” she said.
U.S diplomat to France and Fenwick alumnus Brain Bauer ‘03 led this national tour. He explains that those who visited are considered to be some of the “best and brightest” in their respective countries. Bauer feels that the goals of this tour are to promote bilateral communication and multi-cultural appreciation. Since his Fenwick graduation, Bauer has continued to give back to the school and promote cultural exchange. He has addressed both the French and International Relations Clubs in previous years.
At the end of the day, this visit served as an opportunity for Fenwick students to broaden their international understanding. It appears that all hosts and guests experienced a meaningful sharing of cultures.
“During their day at Fenwick, our guests really connected with students,” Ms. Heinz said. “When the French students had to leave, there was much hugging and [there were many] sad good-byes. It was very touching to see the genuine connections that were made in such a short time.”