French Exchange Program


Courtney Mitchell

French Students tour White Station with Mrs. Zarshenas.

White Station now offers a new opportunity for French students: a foreign exchange program.

Ms. Zarshenas, one of the French teachers at White Station, went to the French city of Lyon over spring break. There, she met with English teachers at the school La Martinière Duchère who wanted to start an exchange program with American students. Thus, the foreign exchange program was created.

“[The French students] are going to come here and spend two weeks shadowing the students and participating in the French classes,” Mrs. Zarshenas said. “Then we’re going there and spending two weeks shadowing and participating in the English classes there.”

She believes that this program will help both groups of students become more fluent in the language. Mia Bozof (11), a French 4 student, agreed.

“It’s going to force me to improve my French and really know it, as compared to writing it down and never looking at it again,” Bozof said. “Also, I really like to travel, and I think it would be cool to improve my conversational French and get to go live like a French person for two weeks and see what it’s like to live over there.”

Sukanya Barman (10), a French 3 student, added that she not only wants to see France, but  also loves meeting people from different places and cultures.

The French students who came over had similar reasons for wanting to visit America.

Mylè, Bozof’s French exchange partner, joked that she participated in the program to eat hamburgers. Her real reason, though, was “wanting to speak better English and meet beautiful people.”

Fanny, another French student who agreed with these sentiments said “I wanted to see America for myself.”

Barman initially had some reservations about travelling without her parents, but after seeing the French students, Barman’s hesitations disappeared.

“It’s kind of scary to go to a foreign country by yourself, and I guess, seeing them do it by themselves makes me feel more confident about doing it by myself,” Barman said.

Most students felt at ease seeing how comfortable the French students were in Memphis. Already, students have immersed their partners in the culture by taking them out to Memphis landmarks such as the zoo and Shelby Farms. Overall, both parties seem to enjoy the experience, are able to improve their foreign language and make a new friend in the process.