Elliot Flagg ’20 expresses gratitude for an impactful, “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to France.
Life in Tours, France consists of all the authentic cultural and linguistic experiences that one can experience in France without the hustle and bustle that one attributes to a big city like Paris. Our days are full of learning, activity, and well deserved rest that comes with being on summer vacation. Arriving, I experienced many surprises such as the ease with which I assimilated into my French family, due to their unwavering kindness, and the fact that my French family was relatively normal as I hadn’t received any photos prior to making their acquaintance.
However, I’ve learned that with being a visitor in a country there come some frustrations. One of those for me was not being able to fully experience the Fête de la Musique, an annual city-wide music festival in France, with friends because it can be a dangerous time for someone who is not well acquainted with their surroundings like us poor Deerfield students were not. But perseverant, each student was able to experience as much of the festival as possible with the helpful guidance of our host families.
Though there are many similarities between life here and Deerfield, there are many noticeable differences as well, such as the short in-classroom-hours and the longer hands-on-learning-outside-hours. Between museums, biking adventures, boat rides cooking class, and even scavenger hunts through entire cities, we have been able to grasp a hold of every facet of learning possible, much of that included in our hourly speaking of the French language. In fact, some of the most impactful, and even enjoyable, moments of growth for me have been where I’ve been able to just sit down and talk with my host brother Raphael, grappling to keep up with his ease to converse, but simultaneously and subconsciously advancing in my own ability to articulate thoughts.
Ultimately, this trip has allowed me to broaden my horizons and forcefully expand my zone of comfort in a way that will likely impact me for the rest of my life. I have been able to actively engage in a French community; and along with learning about the French language, I have been able to view life as a French student from the inside. This is not an experience I would trade for the world, and it is all thanks to my amazing host family the Chardonnes, our trip leaders Ms. Nichols and Mr. Taft, and the CSGC for organizing the logistics behind this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Thank you all.