Skip to main content

My Summer Adventure in France!

Ever since I was young, I have loved the French language and culture. When I visited France the first time when I was around 7 years old, I knew from the moment that we landed that I wanted to return and experience French life for myself, and this splendid program provided me exactly with that opportunity.

Through the application and preparation period, the ANDEO staff were incredibly helpful and communicative. The guidance and materials they provided were useful and succinct. In the months leading up to my trip, I was super excited. Admittedly, I had not prepared as much as I should have. Looking back, I would’ve been better prepared if I had listened to more French audio. Of course, this caused quite a bit of apprehension the day of my departure. I was also nervous to enter a French speaking household and meet my host family. After hours of flying, we arrived in France! When I finally met my host family, I found I had completely forgotten most of my French language skills in that moment. Everyone was talking so fast, and even though I had taken 4 years of French in school, I found myself confused most of the day. While this first day was super intimidating, I got used to it in no time!

Once I got through that scary first day, I found that I was not afraid to make mistakes anymore. My host family was very understanding throughout the trip, and they even found a lot of my mistakes cute! They helped me improve my vocabulary as well as my audio comprehension skills. The older host sister and I had a lot of common interests such as Harry Potter and Stranger Things, which definitely helped us bond in the beginning and gave us subjects to talk about.

My host family was also very accommodating to my dietary restrictions. As someone who is allergic to dairy and gluten and is also pescatarian, food had been a huge stressor for me leading up to the trip. Fortunately, my host family was super considerate and I never found food a problem for me. In fact, I even discovered foods that I now eat in America, such as rhubarb jam and smoked salmon.

I spent most of my time with my host mom and two host sisters. We visited places all over Normandy together and even went to Paris for a few days. We visited the home of Christian Dior, the beach, a bell foundry, and much more, but one of the major highlights was definitely visiting le Mont St. Michel. My host mom took us there in the evening so we got to explore the gorgeous island in daylight as well as at sunset and see the island light up at night.

While exploring and visiting attractions was absolutely amazing, I also enjoyed life at home.  I learned many new card and board games, although it was quite the challenge, considering they were teaching me in French. I have fond memories of playing Monopoly with the whole family as well as my host sister always beating me in Menteur and Puissance 4. I also loved baking with them while listening to music and dancing, even if the food did not always turn out to be exactly as planned. Furthermore, I had a great time playing with their silly new kitten, who they named Max after my own dog.

One of the primary reasons I wanted to do a homestay experience was to meet people and make friends. While I of course made friends with my host siblings, I also got to meet their friends! We went swimming and bowling and just hung out. It was a great deal of fun. Moreover, I got to form a bond with my host family that I expect will last for a long time. They were so kind and welcoming to me, and I will never forget them.  

Another part of this program was the three-day tour of Paris with a group at the end. It was such a blast visiting the museums and eating at tasty French restaurants. We even participated in some dancing along the Seine River! I was able to explore the streets of Paris and make new friends from my region. Our chaperone and tour guide were both fantastic.

Through this experience, my dream of experiencing a truly French lifestyle came true. It was a time of both enjoyment and personal growth. It was definitely challenging at times and took a bit of adaptation and perseverance. The homestay experience was not the same as an average touristy vacation, as I got to truly experience the culture of the French! Even after that intimidating first day, the trip was completely worth it and was one of the best experiences of my life. I would like to thank both ANDEO and my host family for such a marvelous summer! This trip was everything I wanted and more.

-Anna Finch


Popular posts from this blog

Tips for Teens Traveling Independently

Many of our programs allow you to choose your own program dates, flights, and length. Some advantages to this are that families have control over booking flights and are able to use frequent flyer miles. One challenge, however, is that students must travel independently to their program destinations. Some teens are understandably nervous about flying alone.  Here are some tips to help teens and parents feel more at ease about traveling internationally without a chaperone or flight leader. Before booking your ticket Check with us before booking your ticket to see if anyone else from your area will be attending your program at the same time. We can put you in contact with one another. Booking your ticket Whenever possible, choose a direct flight. Fewer fights mean fewer opportunities for flights to be delayed or for other problems to arise. If a direct fight is not possible, choose a flight that stops or makes connections in the United States. Whenever possible, stick with t

5 Reasons to Host an Exchange Student

There are many benefits to hosting a student from abroad, even for just a couple of weeks. Here are five reasons why people love hosting! 1. Make International Friends and Form a Global Family International friends make the world feel smaller and more connected. Even if you speak different languages, it’s rewarding to discover common ground. We often hear that exchange students start to feel like family in only a short time as hosts include them in their daily activities. Story time! Peter, a host dad in Portland, says that he hosts because “it brings new life from other cultures into our house, breaking down borders to create an extended family. We love the fact that in two weeks a relationship is formed that will last for years. One adult teacher from Japan last year still refers to me as her Papa.” Peter and his wife with their pair of Japanese exchange students and a friend Karen, a host in Washington, has hosted a few French students. She says her family’s last

How to Write a Letter to Your Host Family

The letter to your host family is one of the most important pieces of your program abroad application; it’s the host family’s first impression of you. Exchange programs take many factors into account when matching you with a host family, but ultimately it’s up to the host family to decide whether to host you or not. Here are a few helpful tips to writing a great letter to your future host family: Use a positive tone. “The main reason a student’s dossier is passed over by families is unintentional negativity,” explains Rebecca Gundle, Program Coordinator for ANDEO International Homestays. A student might be trying to explain her preferences, but when she devotes equal attention to describing her dislikes, she comes across as negative or picky. A family wants to know that the student they host will be adaptable and willing to try new things. Keep your tone upbeat and positive. Go deeper than the application form. Try to avoid simply reiterating what is on the form. This is a c