Today was my final day in Paris with our students, and it began with me getting quite turned around in the métro on my way to meet everyone at the Musée d’Orsay. I finally decided to just walk the forty-five minutes to the museum after thirty minutes of confusion. By the time I entered the former train station, the kids were just about ready to head out. After a brief visit, I decided to stay another four hours, mostly on floor five with the impressionists.
The day culminated in a joint celebration in the school courtyard at Ecole de l'Hôpital Saint-Louis, as many of our parents were rejoined with their 6th graders (yes, they are now 6th graders!). There was tremendous joy between all parents and students. This is truly a cross-cultural partnership.
As I reflected on the students’ experiences here throughout my day, their last day, I continued to return to the idea that they have been given a true gift by this opportunity. Some of our students will realize this immediately, and for others, they won’t realize this for quite some time. The experience of travelling abroad and staying with a host family puts most, if not all, 5th/6th graders well out of their comfort zones. Their ability to adapt, persevere, collaborate and, at times, accommodate during their two weeks here are all skills that they will transfer in a variety or situations today, tomorrow and beyond. This kind of experiential education is invaluable and is another step in preparing them for their future.
Last, I must give tremendous gratitude to our teachers, Trisha, Aurore, Cédric and Thierry. The effort and commitment to make this happen for our students is truly Herculean. There is no “down” time or “off” time on a trip like this, and the connection, care, and compassion that these four have for our students is imperative for the program’s success. So, thank you to the four of you!
This has been a wonderful experience for me, and I am eager to officially join the FAIS community in July! I am sure I will see some of you around campus this summer, and I look forward to seeing all of you in September!