Hello to all the parents, guardians, friends and families who are checking out the Saumur site blog this summer! I’ve read through your comments and I’m happy to see that you have enjoyed what I’ve been able to post so far. I imagine that you are all looking forward to hearing and seeing about your sons and daughter’s experiences in Saumur, so I won’t delay any longer!
This week has been jam-packed with adventures, so here’s an overview that I will follow up with more detail and pictures for each section!
Week 1 (Monday June 15th-Sunday 21st)
- A photo-excursion of Saumur (Wednesday)
- An orientation to the program for students (Thursday)
- Ice-breaker activities at L’Institution Saint-Louis (Wednesday and Thursday)
- A visit to Clos Lucé and a visit to the Chenonceau castle (Friday)
Let’s get started!
The Saumur Photo Excursion
On Wednesday after school, we took the students on a walking tour of Saumur to show them the important sights and familiarize them with the city (for example: downtown, the post-office, the town hall, the castle, the Loire river, the supermarket…) Here’s a few snapshots!
Orientation for students at Saint-Louis
One might ask: ‘What is this Institution Saint-Louis?’… It’s the school where our students will have classes this summer! Here they will have Grammar and Communication lessons (taught by myself, Alan Ames); Linguistic and phonetic lessons (taught by Michael Kunz); Literature lessons (taught by Amy Conrad); and Culture lessons (taught by Renata Uzzell).
On Thursday we had an orientation session for students along with support groups meetings – small, professor-led groups to discuss any concerns the students may have with adapting to France and their new host families. We also spoke to them about the honor code and had them add their own personal additions to enhance the existing code. The students then worked on creating their own ‘Blasons’—a coat of arms—to show where they came from as well as their own personal goals for the program. These will be a part of the program’s magazine and I have shared a few here along with other photos from orientation day!
Ice-breaker activities at Saint-Louis
During our trip to France and also during the first few days of the programs the students have had many occasions to interact and get to know one another, but it was unlikely that the students knew every other student’s name. On Wednesday after orientation and also in the afternoon on Thursday after lunch (a delicious and nutritious lunch at the ‘Habitat Jeunes du Saumurois’ cafeteria), we led the students through ice-breaker activities. In one activity called ‘the human knot’ they had to work together to untangle themselves and in another activity they had a team contest that is difficult to explain, but that was a real blast and generated a lot of laughs. Here’s some snapshots!
Visits to the Clos Lucé and the Chenonceau Castle
On Friday we had our first major excursion to Clos Lucé (the home and workshop of Leonardo Da Vinci) and also to Chenonceau Castle (a castle that served as a military hospital for injured troops during World War I and also was home a long time ago to famous French figures such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis). Both of these places were exquisitely beautiful and we had such luck with the weather—blue skies, sun, and the occasional cloud-cover…
Your sons and daughters did a terrific job staying with their groups during this excursion for safety and they took lots of photos (not to mention they had the opportunity to try out French ice cream and buy presents to bring back home!) I’ll let the pictures speak for this wonderful first excursion…
In closing, I’d like to say that it’s an absolute pleasure to teach and guide your sons and daughters this summer in France. They are truly talented, polite, brave, curious, and motivated! The students have had a great week and I’ll keep you all updated here as we go on to week two!