Darlington High students put French skills to the test

Cassy Lloyd, center, with her pen-pal, right, and another friend

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

For several students at Darlington High School, their French class taught them more than just a few casual phrases: it gave them the skills and the opportunity to travel overseas. Cassy Lloyd and Naomi Louis both had the opportunity to travel with their teacher Sally Weiland, visiting places they’ve only dreamed of.

Weiland said that she loves the chance to see her students in action.

“During these trips everything that we’ve done and talked about in class comes together,” Weiland said. “They get to use the language with everyone around them and they get to see it. I think one of the best things is that they get to see a variety of people because France attracts people from all over the world. It is not just that that they hear French, either. They hear languages from all over the world. And they get to see people appreciating people from other cultures and not talking about them behind their back or trying to find a way to build a wall to keep them out.”

Naomi Louis and her pen-pal

Lloyd said that she was excited to be able to visit France.

“I’ve always been interested in visiting other countries and it’s always been one of my desires,” Lloyd said. “I want to learn about other cultures and I want to learn other languages to be able to communicate with those cultures, incorporate it into myself, I guess. I want to have an open mind about the world. I’ve always been stuck in one place so it was nice to see what else the world has to offer.”

Louis said that one particular monument made the trip a must.

“ I’ve always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower so that was a big part of why I wanted to go,” Louis said. “It was also nice to see people who looked like me in France and people who looked like me who didn’t speak English; that was pretty cool.”

Naomi Louis and DHS French Teacher Sally Weiland

Both young ladies said that they had the support of their families though it did take a touch of convincing.

“My mom didn’t want me to go by myself but she got over it,” Louis said. “Everybody was really happy for me.”

“I was surprised but my mom was very welcoming to the idea of me going,” Lloyd said. “I originally thought that she wouldn’t let me go out of the country by myself, with not that many other people, but she actually liked the idea of me going because she knew I really wanted it.”

Travel within the United States was rare for the girls, let alone overseas travel.

“The furthest I’ve ever is probably Maryland and Atlanta,” Louis said. “Other than that, I don’t really travel.”

“I have little travel experience which is why I wanted to do this and get out of my comfort zone,” Lloyd said. “I’ve rarely traveled outside of South Carolina.”

Both girls said that they enjoyed seeing the sights but also having a chance to meet people they had been communicating with before their trip.

“I really liked all the architecture there because it is very different than ours,” Lloyd said. “It is older and the style is different. It is really surreal walking through such an old city. I liked all of the museums. We went to a lot of museums…the Louvre…I really enjoyed seeing my pen pal. It was a holiday so they had a day off so we got to walk around in their town, Poitier, and I got to spend the day with them. I got to meet their families and actually see what life was like as a local. I think that was my favorite part and what I looked forward to most.”

Louis agreed that it was hard to pinpoint one favorite part.

“I had a lot of favorite parts,” Louis said. “One of them was the Eiffel Tower. The only part I didn’t like about that was that the elevator was broken so we had to walk up the steps. We didn’t walk up the second floor; we stayed on the first floor, which was good enough for me because I had never been.”

Having enjoyed their visits so much, the young ladies said that they would definitely encourage anyone, student or otherwise, to travel abroad if they are able.

Author: Stephan Drew

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