Vive la France!


Gigi Schueneman ’26 and Bailey Flynn ’26 with their exchange students

Gigi Schueneman, Reporter

Salut tout le monde! Je vais vous parler du programme d’échange français qui s’est passé la semaine dernière. (translation: Hello everyone! I am going to tell you about the French exchange program that happened last week.) 

On Friday, February 10, 20 high school students from Nîmes, France embarked on a journey to Fort Worth, Texas. Nine of them came to Fort Worth Country Day, four went to Nolan Catholic High School, and seven went to World Languages Institute.

Throughout their 10-day visit, the exchange students had the pleasure of experiencing American culture in places like the stockyards and Risky’s Barbecue. They even got to try authentic Texan line dancing at Billy Bob’s Texas.

The French delegates also visited the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. Unfortunately, they did not tour the Kimbell or the Modern museums in Fort Worth (disappointing because the French love their art). 

Most exciting, however, was the trip that these delegates and a few host students took to a Mavericks game, during which they got to meet Frank Ntilikina, a French NBA player. This was great fun and the students even got to witness a wedding during half time.

“I know that the French highlight was the Mavs game,” said Upper School French teacher Andréanne Annis.

While that may have been the most fun for the delegates, what was really exciting for the FWCD students were the days that the French students came to classes with their host families. FWCD students watched as their new friends were deeply engaged in every history discussion and enthralled by the knowledge of new math theorems. A lucky few delegates even got to experience a real-live French class, where they imbibed each new grammar lesson with rapt enthusiasm. All in all, it was a great learning experience.

“I would of course do it again. I learned a lot about myself,”said Olympe Windal, a French student.

In the welcome dinner on Saturday, February 11, French delegates and their host families from all schools joined delegates on Fort Worth Sister Cities’ reciprocal exchange to Nîmes this upcoming spring break.

The potluck food was delicious, and the cafeteria location allowed American and French students to talk with each other and make new friends.

The fun didn’t end once all of the food was gone, however. A few lucky people ended the party by hitting a Texas cowboy boot-shaped piñata. Many of the delegates also stayed behind to play a game of soccer using a small foam ball painted to look like the Earth that they had just received as a party favor. 

On Tuesday, February 14, delegates on the Fort Worth Sister Cities trip to Nîmes joined a few of their foreign exchange students who are going to Nîmes in March. They went to the mayor’s office to swear an oath to represent Texas on their voyage, and as a fun surprise, the French delegates were introduced as well.

“I feel that the more you get to know about various cultures, the more you get to know about your own self. That’s an extra layer of vision that allows you to see more depth and more beauty in the world,” said Annis.

In the last few days of the trip, the delegates went to the top of the Reunion Tower in Dallas. There, they learned about the French history of la Réunion, and how the Dallas commune was funded by French leaders. They then had an exclusive viewing of Country Day’s “The Lightning Thief” musical during one of the dress rehearsals.

“I am so grateful to have been welcomed by an adorable family who gave me the opportunity to do so many amazing things. I was in a western movie and I’ll never forget this part of my life,” said Fantine Vincent, one of the French delegates.

All of the delegates and their host families had a fantastic time, and they each learned a great deal about the history of Nîmes and Fort Worth. But, to everyone’s dismay, the host families bid their students adieu on Sunday, February 19 at DFW Airport. Tears flowed, hugs were shared, and contacts were exchanged.

This trip was a fun one, and it will be missed. To all of the French students, I say “Au revoir!”