Fifteen students from Quebec and 15 students from Hope toured around the District last Thursday during a photo scavenger hunt (which included snapping photos with several edible items from local businesses like Bees and the Rolling Pin, and things like skipping a rock in the Fraser River and standing on a Bike Park jump.)
The excitable group of French students from École secondaire les Etchemins in Lévis Quebec, arrived on Saturday Apr. 16 through a cultural exchange program and stayed with their host families until Saturday Apr. 23.
The week long exchange consisted of a myriad of events hosted by Hope Secondary’s French department, including meeting the community of Hope, a tour of the Fraser Valley, and trips to Victoria and Vancouver.
“The students have been having a great time — they’ve been on a helicopter ride, visited the Hope Slide, Harrison Hot Springs, Bridal Falls, Cultus Lake, Yale Historic Site, the Hope Museum and Nestle Waters,” said Hope Secondary French teacher Misty Wagner.
The program, geared toward students grade 9 to 11, was made possible by the hard work and dedication of teachers like Lynne Marvell and Lenora Poulin as well as government grants for Canadian exchange programs.
Friends, family and students were invited to a dinner to celebrate the memorable week on Friday at Hope Secondary, where they had the opportunity to share some of the week’s adventures in a slide show and with each other.
“My week was very good, it’s very beautiful here,” said Quebec student Laurie Tremblay. “It’s not at all like Quebec, it’s much different — here people are happy all the time, and they say hello. In Quebec people are always stressing.”
On the flip side, Hope Secondary students had the chance to travel to Quebec earlier in the year.
“I learned a lot, more than I thought — at first it was a bit overwhelming to be immersed in Quebec French, but it was fun,” said Hope Secondary student Emma Link.
Link described French cuisine as being hearty and she enjoyed the Sugar Shack (a traditional shack where people gather to enjoy sweet and delicious maple products and indulge in sugar cravings.) She also recommended the traditional French dish of Tourtière (meat pie.)
The program allowed students to have a different perspective while seeing how diverse Canada is within itself, and it seemed that the bunch was soaking up every minute of it.
“I think it gives students a cultural understanding, predominantly french, and it was really an opportunity to bond with our twin schools” said Wagner.