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The French connection

Ballston Spa students spend a week in the lives of their French counterparts

Twenty-one Ballston Spa High School students know what it's like to experience a little joie de vivre in the country where the phrase originated.

They spent 10 days in Lille, France, through a cultural and educational exchange within the school's language program where they lived with a French family, attended a French school and took day trips to cultural landmarks in France and beyond. In the spring, the French students that participated come to Ballston Spa to complete the exchange.

Students really follow the life of a French student go to classes, combine American and French students to do linguistic activities, go to museums and have lunch together. We really try to have the kids go right into being French," said high school French teacher Patricia Halpin. "The school of there has been overwhelmingly receptive and love our students and spoil them. Deep down these kids really start friendships with these [French] students and as a French teacher, this is probably the best experience for me to see these kids go through. They use their language skills and feel great when they understand something."

Halpin said that even though the exchange program has been going on since 2002, this year's exchange was the best.

"It was a good chemistry between students and the activities we did worked out really well. There were really no problems that I've heard of," said Halpin. "The French students and families want to practice their English too, so nobody ever feels lost because there's always a way to be understood. The administration is supportive over there, they're wonderful people and want to keep the exchange going."

Ethan Beaudoin, a junior, and Emily Beaudoin, a freshman, both participated in this year's exchange. While they each stayed with a separate family and had different experiences, the one thing they agree on is that life in France is good and the food is incredible.

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