Thursday, June 25, 2015

Excursion #1 and Breton Dancing!!

Friday,  June 19 we had our first excursion to the cities of Dinan, Dinard and Saint-Malo.  In Dinan, our first stop was the Place de Duguesclin where we admired the statue of Bertrand de Duguesclin who defended the city of Dinan from the Normands in the 14th century.  We then made our way over to the Saint Sauveur Basilica where his heart is interred.

The Statue of Bertrand du Duguesclin

After the visiting the Basilica, we hustled our way over to the Château of Dinan for a personalized guided visit.  We visited the crypt, the tower of the Duchesse Anne and other parts of the château used for defending the city from invaders and also from a potential revolt from its residents.

Following our visit of the château, we took a scenic walk across the ramparts of the ancient walled city and eventually made our way down a cobble-stoned street lined with Timber-framed houses from the Middle Ages to the port of Dinan to meet our bus.

The Chateau of Dinan
Our visit continued with our next stop in the small city of Dinard for lunch on the beach.  The city has been a hot spot for English tourists for decades, as well as some notable celebrities.  It's biggest claim to fame is being the possible inspiration for the Alfred Hitchcock films "Pyscho" and "The Birds".  The students frolicked on the beach and enjoyed the sun after finishing their lunch. And staying true to its legendary history, more than one student lost a snack or a half of a sandwich to the seagulls perched nearby observing inattentive tourists.

After lunch, ice cream and the beach, we climbed back on the bus to head to the walled port city of Saint-Malo.  We strolled along the ramparts and enjoyed the seaside view and the fresh ocean breeze. We lucked out on this trip and arrived during low tide, and were thus able to make our way over to Grand Bey Island  where the tomb of the 18th century French writer Chateaubriand is located.

Below you'll see a picture of the students in front of a statue of Jacques Cartier, who was a Breton explorer known for his discovery and claim of Canada for France.  We finished up our trip to Saint-Malo with some shopping and ice cream at the delicious Sanchez Artisan Glacier in the center of town.

The Statue of Jacques Cartier
Pictures from this excursion can be found at the links below:

Monday, June 22, we tasted some homemade French desserts prepared by students in the Blue group and their host families.  As you can tell from the photos in the link below, they were delicious.  :)

Wednesday, June 24 we had our Soirée Danse Bretonne where we welcomed a group of traditional Breton Dancers who played traditional Breton folk music and taught the dances to the students and their host families.  Everyone danced and danced and danced for nearly two hours.  Many a dancer was left with worn out pinkie fingers and calves by the end of the night, but with big smiles across their faces.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Almost Two Weeks in and whilrwind of birthdays!!!

 It's been quite the week!  So much has happened and there's still so much yet to come!

First off, in the past week we celebrated the birthdays of Brahm, Grace M., Morgan, Bailey and Nathalie.  The stagiaires celebrated with fake champagne and Orangina while snacking on all sorts of delicious cookies and treats.  Pictures from all of the birthday celebrations can be found at the link below.


On our orientation day, the students had the opportunity to repeat an activity that we had done during orientation in the Bloomington.  Each student presented their partner, sharing their goals for the summer and important things about themselves.  Pictures of all of the students can be found at the link below.

All About Me Poster Sharing

We got off to a great start with our first day of classes and the stagiaires are now fully immersed in the francophone world from all sides.  You can take a peek inside some of the classrooms in the photos below.

On Friday we had our first group optional activity. Everyone went bowling and had a blast.   All of the stagiaires played better than the profs.  Pictures from bowling can be found at the following link.


Tomorrow we have our first excursion and next Wednesday we'll be welcoming Breton dancers to teach everyone about traditional Breton culture.  Stay tuned for more photos after those two events next week!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A long day of traveling

After two flights and a bus ride, we have finally arrived in Saint-Brieuc.  The flight across the pond was long, but smooth.  Heathrow airport was a bit of a maze, but we made it through together with plenty of time to relax in between the flights.  And the last flight was just a hop, skip and a jump across the English Channel.  We quickly found Sarah Kay and Jamie upon arriving in Paris, and our bus driver was even early to meet us.  It was a challenge to load all of those suitcases under the bus, but luckily they all fit. AND no luggage was lost en route!   By the time we got on the bus, everyone was exhausted and fell right asleep.  The proof is in the picture  :)

They all groggily greeted their host families when we finally arrived in Saint-Brieuc at 8:30pm (earlier than expected) and jumped head first into their French immersion.
Today the stagiaires rested up at their host family's home and tomorrow we have our first day.  We're getting off to a running start already!  More news to come as program activities get underway.