The purpose of these trips are to expose students to situations not only outside their community but also outside their country. For many, traveling abroad, this is an opportunity they would have never thought possible, while others have never left the city of Chicago. Such experiences impact and change their life forever. Students understand that being proficient in another language in an absolute necessity in our global society. The ability to travel and look back into the U.S. expands the mindset and the possibilities that young people have for themselves. They discover a world of opportunities that they would have never envisioned and they become better equipped for their future. When students return, the conversations they have with their fellow students, parents, family and friends in the community have a downstream effect and a positive impact on the life of the family members who live vicariously through them.
“Our trip to Spain and France my junior of high school was an experience that I wouldn’t trade in for the world. Not only was the trip fun an educational, it helped cement the foundation for me to become a well rounded, well traveled, independent adult. Traveling that far as a seventeen year old was really a big step in me becoming more independent. Although my parents helped me out with money, I realized (as soon as the first day) that it would be incredibly easy to go broke if I didn’t manage my money correctly. In many ways, the things I learned during my trip abroad helped me prepare for my first year of college. The trip also helped me when I decided to study abroad in Panama my senior year. Without my first trip to Europe, I doubt I would have had the confidence to live in a different country for an extended period of time. I would recommend traveling abroad to anyone. I know too many adults right now that haven’t even left the state of Illinois. Traveling abroad opens your eyes to a variety of cultures and customs that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get here in the states.”
Jordan Walker – 2005
“As a parent I’m a huge fan of study abroad. My daughter went on her school’s French exchange sophomore year, attending school and staying with a family in Paris who in turn sent their daughter to stay with us and attend my daughter’s school after my daughter came home. It made my daughter hungry for more, and to learn a new language and culture. Win/win!”
“Having the opportunity to travel to France and Spain was life changing. During our trip, my classmates and I were fortunate to open our eyes to lifestyles and cultures we were previously unfamiliar with. The trip left us each with life long friendships, new personal interests, and a greater sense of independence. Most importantly, we gained global perspective. We dared to test our newfound courage by trying new foods for the first time, making friends of people we wouldn’t have typically crossed paths with, and practicing our secondary languages by starting conversation with strangers in cafes. The experience was truly enriching, not to mention, fun beyond our wildest imaginations.
Prior to visiting France, I had always entertained the idea of attending university abroad. What I didn’t realize, however, was how attainable the idea really was. I felt so comfortable in and fell so much in love with Paris, that I eventually applied and was accepted to The American University of Paris, which I look forward to attending this fall. Without the opportunity to travel with my class, I probably would not have had the courage to seek out, let alone attend my dream school.”
Sierra Monet – 2013
“The trip to Paris was an experience of a lifetime; I felt I was really able to become immersed in the French language and culture by getting involved in the students school activities, as well as hanging out with the families. The differences from the way we eat to the light switches was memorizing and I found myself constantly comparing the differences between the US and France. I acquired a lot good relationships and meet people from all different backgrounds and I can’t wait to go back!”
Nicole – 2015
“Without trying to learn a second language I would never have been exposed to some of the great opportunities I had with Lycée Colbert and because of them when my French pen pal Fatou came to America in late March, I had made a new friend; an international friend. When I went to Paris, I loved the culture shock because it was so invigorating, interesting, and valuable for me to not only enhance my French speaking skills, but also an experience of food, fun, and sightseeing I will never forget.”
Dara – 2015
“I appreciated being able to meet new people and learn about them. Because of the exchange program, I was able to gain new experiences outside of my everyday life.
I really enjoyed the experience.”
Fatimata – 2016
“It was a delight to be a host family and a bit exhausting but in a good way. The children were so loving and open to just about anything. I do hope this connection will grow and give more opportunities for students here and abroad to experience life outside of their surroundings. It was also a delight to see our children utilize what they have learned in French class and be a translator for those parents who were not fluent in French.”
Ms. White – hosting parent
“It was an experience that I’ll truly remember 60 years from now. The French students, and French people even, were quite pleasant and the food was great. Aside from the food being great, the portions were less filling.”
Jordan – 2016
“I would first like to say how wonderful Danny is! He’s been such a pleasure to have around! He’s extremely respectful, kind, and polite. Because of his presence, my husband and children have learned a little French so far!
This opportunity has also changed Micah. She’s more engaging and willing to assist. Last night she cooked dinner for Danny and he thought it was amazing–he’s also speaking English with us!”
Ms. Brooks – hosting parent