EDSMEN EXPLORE FRANCE AS PART OF FRENCH STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM
For three weeks, five Edsmen traveled to France as part of St. Ed's French Student Exchange program, a partnership with Collège Saint Joseph in Le Puy-en-Velay, France. Sophomores Braeden Amos, Max Morscher, Phillip Pantalone, Chad Schaffner and John Thompson, accompanied by Director of International Programs Mr. Michael Perrins and French teacer Mrs. Elisa Bredendiek, were fully immersed in French culture. Thanks to their host families, students explored the mountainous region of southern central France and visited the birthplace of the Marquis de Lafayette, a key figure in both the American and French Revolutions, whose ancestral home resides close to Collège Saint Joseph. They also participated in a two-day excursion to Paris, where they climbed the Arc de Triomphe, walked down the famous Champs Elysee, went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and saw the restoration work being done on the Notre Dame Cathedral. "My favorite place to visit while abroad was Paris because I got to see so many famous landmarks, explored the city, and learned more about French culture and my fellow Edsmen than I did before," says Braeden. "I appreciated the unique architecture and enjoyed exploring a new culture with my friends," says Maxwell.
Another day of their trip was fully dedicated to exploring Le Mans, located over 100 miles southwest of Paris. Taking the TGV, France's intercity high-speed train, students arrived in the birthplace of the Congregation of Holy Cross and toured the city, built in the third century, to see ancient Roman walls and St. Julien's Cathedral, decorated with flying buttresses, high ceilings and the exquisitely preserved medieval painted chapel of Mary. Following the footsteps of Blessed Fr. Basil Moreau, C.S.C., founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, students completed a barefoot pilgrimage up the steps to the Cathedral in Le Mans and celebrated mass at the tomb of Fr. Moreau in the Basilica de Sainte Croix. "This was a very moving and significant experience for our Edsmen," says Mr. Perrins. "We said prayers for the global Holy Cross community and especially our St. Ed's family. Visiting Le Mans reinforced our students' understanding of the origins of the Congregation of Holy Cross and was a very spiritual experience for them."
The French Student Exchange program, among other international programs offered at St. Ed's, provides students with unique experiences that enriches their relationships, interactions, global awareness and international understanding. "The immersion in a real-life French community through the French Student Exchange is immeasurable in developing language acquisition and cultural understanding," says Mr. Perrins. "This enhanced understanding develops awareness, greater appreciation of the world and its interrelatedness, and builds friendships and positive networking across the globe."