The bilingual and experiential journey that began in the Maternelle continues into the adolescent years. By middle school, students are balanced bilinguals primed for third-language studies and continued cultural exploration. Students participate in immersive travel experiences, enabling them to improve their third language skills through small-group classes, interaction with local students, and a homestay with local families, all while exploring the respective country’s culture through food, the environment, architecture, and the arts.
In March and April, 7th- and 8th-grade students traveled to Italy, Morocco, Peru, Taiwan, and France, further developing their third language skills and cultivating connections to our global community. They traveled to the ruins of Pompeii, enjoyed the culinary delights of Taiwan, visited Moroccan spice shops and embarked on desert camel rides, learned about the Incan idea of Pachamama (“Mother Earth”) in Peru, and uncovered the best kept secrets in Paris by spending two weeks with local correspondent families— all contributing to unforgettable and transformative learning experiences for these impressionable minds.
Here are some of the highlights—
As we were leaving, a group of Italian students approached us and asked us questions about where we were from and how long we were here in [the nearby city of] Paestum. We talked with them for so long that we missed our train back to Salerno! - Aidan
We went to Pompeii and it was absolutely beautiful—the amphitheater and the forum and all the other ruins. We saw a lot of beautiful mosaics and fountains and the landscape was incredible. It was really cool to see a moment from more than two thousand years ago frozen in time. - Lina
This experience is one that we'll never forget. From the architecture of Pompeii to the culture of Positano, we learned so much. The cones of gelato and the walks around the cities will never be forgotten. Each day was different from the rest because we learned something new. All of the students practiced Italian with their host families, shop owners and even some high school students from Rome! The activities such as cooking and ceramics classes taught us a bit about the culture of the different regions. But the thing most students enjoyed was the excellent food of Italy. I'd like to thank the Accademia Leonardo and the French American International School for providing us with this amazing, fun-filled and unforgettable experience. - Colette
We set out for the souq so the students could have their first experience of real-world bargaining. They also participated in a linguistic "scavenger hunt.” They were tasked with finding translations of standard Arabic words in Moroccan dialect, and vice versa. It was a valuable exercise linguistically, culturally and socially, as it encouraged the students to engage in non-transactional interaction with Moroccans. You should have seen the smiles on the shopkeepers' faces when the students insisted on speaking Arabic and expressed interest in the local dialect! - Jamal, trip chaperone
Morocco: An Impression—Today I saw many things, but one thing caught my eye. Olive stands in the marketplace! All lined up next to each other forming a letter “v.” Each stand had four or five big bowls of olives sorted by color. The green olives in one bowl, black in another, and so forth. The stand owners were yelling to advertise their olive brands. One distinct smell filled my nostrils—the smell of olives! Moroccan olives, different from the ones in the United States. - Alex
This next part is written entirely from my stomach—We ate at Din Tai Fung, and I believe that I ate some of the most delicious food ever! It was mouth-wateringly good. The dumplings were juicy and savory… this will change how I look at Chinese food forever. - Julien
Today we travelled to the "Sanctuary of Machu Picchu" (the Incas do not refer to it as ruins). Our tour guides, Pepe & Jessica, explained many of the Inca traditions. They spoke about how the Inca people were always giving back to Mother Earth ("Pachamama"). One of their traditions is, when you take a drink of water, put a few drops back in the ground in thanks and appreciation. - Leslie, Fabrice y Mickael, trip chaperones
Students in Peru were also helping to build a new dorm for the school in Ollantaytambo. The students made up 3 teams: Team Rock, Team Sand, and Team Pick Axe. The activities are exactly the same as the names indicate; collecting rocks in the field for the students to create a dry path to the classrooms, sanding the woodwork to be painted, and pick axing the ground to place the rocks level.