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April 25, 2012

The French connection: French students visit Jeffersonville High School

JEFFERSONVILLE — Rather than checking out the sights of New York or hanging out in Long Beach, Calif., a group of French high school juniors spent part of their trip to the United States at Jeffersonville High School.

Nearly 30 students from Lycee Jules Guesde — a school in Montpellier, France — took a tour of the school to see how students are educated in America, as well as getting a look at how American teenagers live.

Colette Makaga, one of the teachers from the school, said her students get a birds-eye view of life in America from the trip.

“The benefits are absolutely tremendous,” Makaga said. “It enables them to put into perspective what they’ve got and what they haven’t got, and hopefully gain some insight as to the American way of life.”

Through Jefferson Community and Technical College and Louisville’s Sister Cities program, students will also see Louisville and stay with families there to see what life is like at home.

Makaga said since her students are studying English, she wants them to get a better perspective of some of the culture that goes along with the language.

“You can’t teach children languages if you don’t give them a taste of where that language is spoken,” Makaga said.

This is the second year the school has brought its students to Jeff High. They also took a tour in Washington, D.C., where they stayed for four days.

Principal James Sexton said he’s glad the students continue to show interest in seeing how public education compares to private schools, since they also visit a few private institutions while they’re in the United States.

“We’re fortunate enough that they always want to come to Jeff High, so we show them a real public school,” Sexton said. “They get to see what American teenagers are really like.”

Sarah Lam, one of the students, said she’s glad they get an opportunity to see places other than big cities.

“I think it’s going to enrich our culture,” Lam said. “I think it’s better to stay in a small city and get to know everyone.”

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