By Brian Brazeau
In 2005 two exchange programs with American schools were set up. The first is with a school in Mt. Prospect (right outside of Chicago). The cities of Sèvres and Mt. Prospect have a long history of cooperation at the official level.
The second, and now defunct, exchange with the International School of Indiana was set up by a former SIS teacher, Mark Shullenberger, who moved back to the US to teach English at ISI.
A tradition begins
Sèvres and Mt. Prospect (a town just outside of Chicago) are sister cities and have a long history of cooperation at the official level. In 2004, members of local governments decided that the relationship between the cities should be extended to high school students. So, SIS teacher Brian Brazeau began working with Scott Russell and Greg Minter of Prospect High to launch an exciting exchange program.
In the Spring of 2005, ten Sèvres students in Première were paired with ten Americans from Prospect High. After an extended period of correspondence, the Americans came to France in March for 10 days, followed shortly thereafter by the French trip to Mt. Prospect in April. The experience was wonderful for all involved, and has become a great SIS tradition.
Any student can apply
We now take about 15 students to Chicago each year normally around the Toussaint holidays. Any student can apply to take the trip as a Première. The application process begins in May, when students are still Secondes, and the final selection is in September.
Students in need of linguistic and cultural immersion are favored, but all interested families should submit an application.
An informational meeting is held in December (at the lycée recontres parents-professeurs), during which families are given the opportunity to ask questions, and are informed of what is involved in being a host family.
How the trip works
When in France, the Americans spend school days visiting Paris with their teachers, with the exception of one day spent attending classes. All non-school time is spent with families.
The same is true when we go to the US. SIS students spend their days visiting Chicago, with the exception of one day which is spent at Mt Prospect high school. Evenings and weekends are spent in the host families, speaking English and learning about American culture.
This wonderful opportunity allows participants to establish lasting friendships, improve their language skills, and to visit Chicago, one of America’s premier cities. Don’t miss out !