The European Exchange is about developing global citizens at a young age. Why? The world is operating as if it were much smaller- with technology, social media, and online document sharing, information spreads quickly around the world. Ten years ago, who would have believed that my twitter messages sent in real time while traveling were received in Mulhouse and Vern-sur-Seiche, France, Liège,Belgium, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, NC and so many other places where they were ‘retweeted”.
This program is about developing confident, knowledgeable, young global citizens who use French to learn about their world – culture, global economics, education, international institutions such as the European Union, history and healthcare. One of many highlights of this 12-year exchange happened this year when we visited the bioMérieux facility in Lyon, France. We were graciously invited to learn more about the Mérieux family and the evolution of this company’s success as being the “world’s leader in microbiology” and in global healthcare. This visit was a language educator’s dream as infectious diseases were explained in French which directly connected with the 8th grade science curriculum in North Carolina. Students asked clarifying questions in both French and English, and I knew they came home understanding that language does open doors in every curriculum. After a gourmet lunch (served with four bottles of their best red wine -which we could not drink :-)) and a professional tour of Lyon, all of us (teachers and students) realized, we are citizens of the world, and French helps us connect in ways we never imagined before this exchange experience. Click here for pictures of the teachers and students visiting the bioMérieux facility in Durham, N.C. and in Lyon, France. Article on district exchange programs
Enjoy watching the students and teachers learning about Europe together! This trip was made possible by a “Getting to Know Europe” grant from the European Union and generous funding from bioMérieux.
Below you will find five short videos that tell a story of learning abroad. This story is told through the eyes of 8th and 9th grade students from Smith Middle School and two high schools. These videos capture the events of the first week:
The first video begins at the airport in Raleigh, NC and ends in Brussels – what are the students thinking? Do these students have the same worries/concerns as you?
The second video is Learning about the European Union. The students attended a seminar at the European Commission with their Belgian host students. You will learn a lot about the EU by watching this video. Please note: We were able to travel with teachers and students who needed financial help because of the “Getting to Know Europe” grant!!
The third video is all about language and discovering the “power within”- each child reaching deep to surface language skills, persevering through the unknown and appreciating the opportunity to be immersed in another culture. The student comments are nothing short of amazing. It is called “Living with a host family”
What do you think Liege is like? Travel with the students to Liege, Belgium and learn about our pen pals’ favorite place to eat waffles, why they climb Montagne de Bueren and how some students even make personal connections with our favorite European city.
MIAM!! This video is all about CHOCOLATE and the beautiful city of Luxembourg… what did you learn?
IMPACT! What did the students and their teachers like most about their European Experience? What did they see, taste, feel along the way? What do you think you would like the most about visiting Belgium and France…and staying with a host family?
20 Teachers and students had an amazing day at bioMérieux on March 14. We were treated like royalty: French breakfast, educational (and engaging) tour of the facility, fantastic presentation of bioMérieux’s history by Mr.Sutherland and Ms. Shannahan and lots of exciting goodies – like bioMérieux day packs and bioMérieux buddies.
We are so fortunate to have such a company to help fund our travels and teach us about microbiology! With this visit, our amazing journey to Belgium and France has begun! Merci bioMérieux and the EU!
Our Journey to France and Belgium begins on this website – Join us![/caption]
Two groups, 43 students and 9 teachers/ administrators will be exploring Europe, learning about the European Union, experiencing daily life in pen pal’s homes and marveling at the wonders of Paris this spring. Both trips are largely funded by the European Union’s “Getting to Know Europe” grant and corporate sponsorship from a local French company, bioMerieux. Please follow our travels as we upload video EVERY DAY on this site March 23-April 4.
Effort and Excellence Journey begins March 28.
Traveling students meet on Saturdays for EURO club – to build community, share fears, concerns and excitement as well as to learn together about the EU, European/American historical ties and what to expect when staying with a Belgian family and attending their pen pal’s school for a week.
Students from Smith Middle school will be traveling to Liege, Belgium to spend a week with their pen pal’s family March 23-March 31. The students will experience daily European life, attend a Belgian school (Saint -Benoit Saint -Servais) and enjoy various excursions with their Belgian host student. Take a moment to enjoy the excitement in this video as these 8th grade students “meet” their Belgian host family on paper. Many of the students have been “talking” with their new friends online, but this is the first time they have seen family pictures and information. How would you feel if you were going to stay with a family in a foreign country and you really have never met them face-to-face ? What do you think these students are thinking? hoping? Please leave a comment.
Step One Getting To Know Europe