-6.9 C
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

An exchange of cultures proves an illuminating experience

Maryhill family is currently play host to teen from France, with local girl slated to head overseas in a few months

The new exchange student in Woolwich Township has been enjoying the small-town life so far.

Since mid-August, Maud Paillet is staying with the Sauve family in Maryhill. She hails from Orléans in the northern central part of France, a city with a population of more than 114,000.

Transitioning from a bigger city to the comparatively quiet rural community has been quite an adjustment for the 15-year-old.

“It’s really different from my home, but I really like it,” said Paillet.

The most significant transition for her has been school life; she attends St. David Catholic Secondary School in Waterloo, while back in France, she attended Lycée Jean Za.

“We have way longer days in France,” said Paillet. “We can finish … it’s not always the same hour; we can finish school at 5 or 6 p.m. sometimes.”

Paillet’s family encouraged her to participate in the exchange program – after her father thought of the idea, her mother researched the program and helped her to apply.

Fellow exchange student and newfound friend Avery Sauve has been showing Paillet the ropes, including the integration of a school uniform that is required at St. David’s.

“Maud was actually really excited to try wearing the uniforms because there aren’t really uniforms in France, it’s not very popular,” said Avery with a laugh.

Both are in the 10th grade and attend the same math and gym classes. Maud has two independent classes – photography and history. Avery’s other classes are science and French, to prepare for her upcoming exchange.

In fact, the idea of participating in the exchange program stemmed from Avery’s French class.

“Somebody from the organization that I’m doing the exchange through came to my school,” explained Avery, on her inspiration for trying out the program. “They did a presentation about the exchange and I just wanted to do it so I got an application.”

Both use the Canadian Education Exchange Foundation, a not-for-profit group that organizes educational exchange programs for elementary and secondary school students through partnerships with government and private agencies in many countries.

The organization and management of these exchange programs in Canada is carried out by staff with the assistance of many volunteers, including school principals, teachers, former participants, parents, and retired teachers.

When the organization came to Avery’s classroom, interested students were given the option of France, Germany, Italy or Spain. Avery chose France because of her interest in learning the language – not only does she take the class beyond the mandatory 9th grade, but she attended French classes outside of school.

The Sauve family then went online, filled out an application, and a detailed questionnaire. The students were matched together based on their interests.

“We are both on a cross-country team at school; Maud does tennis lessons, and we volunteer at [Twin Oaks Nursing] home,” said Avery of their shared interests.

In addition to local sights, the Sauve family has been showing Maud other exciting places across the province, including Toronto and Niagara Falls. They will head to Collingwood this coming weekend.

Maud will stay in Maryhill until November, but they won’t be apart for long. Avery will also get the chance to immerse herself in the French culture when Maud’s family hosts her in early February through late May.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


Spicy and substantial fit the bill just now

Way too much of the white stuff – some of it sticking on the ground – for this point in November. With the early darkness in the evenings, it’s certainly feeling a bit...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

Looking to do some research about the communities we serve? Browse through the years in our online archives.

An immersive experience helps kids acquire language skills

Two months into their stay in the country, a group of students from France got to experience another cultural moment of sorts...

A very visual – and visible – way to remember

Many of the hydro poles in Wellesley have been transformed into a tribute for those who fought and died in the service...

An exchange of cultures proves an illuminating experience

The new exchange student in Woolwich Township has been enjoying the small-town life so far. Since mid-August, Maud...

Scaring up some Halloween fun in Elmira

Those in search of the Halloween spirit need look no further than the vibrant, spooky display at an Elmira heritage home, an experience...

Program encourages Girls to give it a Go

Whether you’re a girl in need of a new friend or just someone to hear you out, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo...

Lions mark 100 years with tree-planting blitz

For 100 years, Lions Club chapters have been helping support their local communities. To mark the centennial celebration, various clubs will join together to...

A retirement gift befitting a tireless volunteer

When Elmira’s Ted Brough opted to retire, he had no idea that the decision would create a legacy fund that would benefit the...

Going the distance in support of pollinators

Elmira’s Clay Williams – along with approximately 44 other runners – will shadow the migration path of the monarch butterflies on a journey that...
- Advertisement -