French students get a taste of DB

Through a program sponsored by the French department, students from France will be coming to Diamond Bar High School to experience American culture.

The French students, who are mostly sophomores, will arrive on April 9 and stay at the homes of their hosts for ten days. During their stay, the students, along with their teachers from France, will go on tours to museums and various other places such as Universal Studios and Venice Beach.

On selected days, the French students will go with their host friends and experience a typical American school day on campus. Their hosts will provide housing and meals during their stay, and some are planning to take their French friends to Disneyland.

“When they’re here, they’ll go out while we are in school on buses to explore L.A. and other areas. Sometimes they’ll be here with us at school to see how different it is. I’m excited to learn more French culture and language through [the French students] and have fun,” sophomore host Nicole Yamashiro said.

Since 2004, DBHS French instructor Anthony Tietz has been taking his French III students to a Catholic church in Los Angeles. This was the first step in introducing this unique exchange program to DBHS.

“Four years ago, a teacher in France wanted her kids to experience living in America, and she asked the priest if he knew any high school teachers who could arrange such a thing. I was the only one he knew,” Tietz explained.

The priest connected the teacher to Tietz, and the program started, with this year being the third annual event. Host students are also welcomed by their French friends to come to France and visit their homes during vacation.

“I’m really excited because it’s so interesting to see the difference in our culture and to see how our culture just sinks into them when they come here is amazing,” junior host Elizabeth Nakamura stated.

The hosts and the native French students are already communicating via email, and some have shown improvement in their speaking.

“I have got to say that I’m mostly looking forward to learning to be more French from Louise, and teaching her American ways. I also want to build a nice friendship. I hope she won’t be disappointed,” Yamashiro stated.

Tietz is just as excited as the host students.

“I think it’s the coolest thing ever because some people can’t afford it or just don’t have the time to visit France, but France is now coming to them. When somebody meets someone who speaks French, I never have to tell them why French is so important. It’s not just about tests and merely speaking the language. It’s about meeting new people. It’s real,” he commented.