First Impressions - March 26

Our students had their first day of class at La Salle Lille today. Over the weekend, they had a chance to spend time with their host families and tour their new surroundings. Below, some of the students share stories from their first weekend in France.
I had a fantastic first weekend with my French host family. On Saturday, I visited Lille, including the old section of town with its old structures still mostly intact. I met up with some other French hosts and St. John’s students to tour the town, including visiting the Euralille shopping mall and getting French pastries at a bakery. On Sunday, I went and saw Pacific Rim: Uprising in French. Later in the afternoon, I got in the car with the family and visited my host’s grandparents. His father’s side is from Algeria and Muslim, so I got to talk to the grandparents about their religion and culture. Then we walked two hours back to their house, passing a big church and some Catholic universities along the way. For dinner we had some traditional Algerian dishes, including some specially prepared peppers and an egg dish. Overall, I had a very enjoyable weekend.
Alex Toner '19
The first couple days here in Lille have been incredibly fun. We’ve walked around town and eaten a lot of food, and today I went to church in the cathedral and a group of us did a really cool team-building obstacle course. Most interesting, though, is being able to compare our cultures, because talking with my host and his friends is more accurate than anything I could ever learn in the classroom. It’s fascinating discussing what we think about each other’s nations. The general attitude in Lille is also very different. Louis, Hedi, Ryan and I will walk into town with no real plan and invariably we run into someone they know who joins our group. That never happens in America, at least not around Washington. The little things can be interesting, too. I just spent 15 minutes with my host family looking at the differences between nutrition labels on my American snacks and the French products they have. Unexpected, but surprisingly intriguing!
Thomas Canary '18
After arriving on Friday night, I had some kebabs with Thibault and we watched the France vs. Columbia soccer, or football, game. The next day, he took me on the subway to downtown Lille and we walked around there for a few hours. Later, I went to a party at the local tennis club with my host family. The party went pretty late, and we all slept in on Sunday morning. We went to play some tennis on Sunday afternoon and afterward I went on a bike ride with Thibault to check out the town he lives in called Mons-en-Barœul, which is right outside Lille.
Graham McGuffin '19
On Saturday, Jade and I went to a few outlet stores near her house in Belgium, where I bought a jacket and a pair of shoes. Later, we met some other students in Lille and stopped in a few shops. Jade, Louise, Maria, and I all hung out later that night. On Sunday, we went to an obstacle course activity called Koezio. We did the course in teams, with the French vs. the Americans. After this, Jade and I came home and watched TV.
Liana Harris '19
This weekend I got to see Lille and I got to meet a lot of my host’s friends. Today my host sister and some of the other hosts took us to Koezio, which was an obstacle course. We played Americans against French and we lost. It was a lot of fun!
Maria Ascanio '19
On Saturday, I went to a park and to downtown Lille with my host student, Hector, as well as with some of his friends, and we all ate at Burger King. On Sunday morning, I went to a French bakery with Hector’s younger brother, Tom, and we bought some baguettes. In the afternoon, my host family and I visited Villa Cavrois.
Liam Rhodes '20