Spend a Year in France!

We would like to introduce our French exchange student from Rombas France to all of you. His name is Pierre Di Blasi, and he will be with us for the full academic year as is always the case with the Rombas program. As most of you know, the Rombas program is typically reciprocal with WHS and Lycée Rombas each welcoming a student for the year. Unfortunately, we did not send a student to Rombas this year.

  The purpose of the exchange program is both cultural and academic.  The hope is for students to be exposed to American culture and improve their English language proficiency.  We want teachers to provide a rigorous academic experience, but also be sensitive to the challenges immersion can bring.  We are hopeful that each student’s “global” perspective can add to your classroom dynamic.

Cort Mathers, September 7, 2017

 

Weston Public Schools is proud to announce its continued development of global education opportunities at the high school.  In order to further develop students’ global perspective and foster international friendship, Weston is continuing its partnership with Rombas, France through the offering of a year-long academic exchange program.   The partnership between Weston and Rombas is longstanding; students have been traveling between the two communities since 1950. This program is an exciting opportunity for students to learn about the global world outside of the conventional classroom.

French language experience is not required but encouraged.  The committee will be evaluating a student’s enthusiasm and character in addition to academic ability when considering applications.  Ability to adapt to new situations and desire to expand one’s global perspective are also attributes that will be considered.

If selected, you will be attending the Lycée Rombas and living with a host family.  Costs of food, housing, and tuition will be covered by the Rombas Exchange committee.  The Weston student selected will be expected to cover his or her own airfare, visa, insurance, and personal expenses.

We are only able to offer this exciting opportunity to one Weston High School student and anticipate that interest in the program will exceed capacity. We encourage you to express your interest through your thoughtful responses to the application questions.

Student Experiences

By Julia Metraux
While the rest of the junior class will be soaking in the final sun-filled days on the beach this August, sophomore Zach Hanoyan will be packing his bags to depart for a year in Rombas, France. Hanoyan has been selected to study abroad during the 2015-2016 school year through the Weston-Rombas foreign exchange program.
Hanoyan said what attracted him to apply for the program was the unique opportunity it offered of immersion in France for a full year.
“I love the French language and culture, so that made me interested,” said Hanoyan. “It’s crazy, but I’m crazy.”
According to Dr. Cortland Mathers, world language department head, deciding between the two applicants was difficult. Both Hanoyan and sophomore Aleka Agre applied with an essay and letter of recommendation and were interviewed before a committee.
Hanoyan was selected to be next year’s exchange student because of his French background and his capacity to take both French and Spanish, showing his dedication to languages, according to Dr. Mathers.
In 2014, Hanoyan was awarded the Departmental Award for Excellence in French Novice. Mathers said this proves his strong academic skills in reading and writing.
Hanoyan has also had experience with French in and around his home.
“My mother taught me a little bit of the language when I was younger,” said Hanoyan. “I also have a lot of French relatives, so I want to speak to them [in French].”
The Weston-Rombas foreign exchange program has allowed WHS students to experience French culture and language for a course of an entire school year for over 60 years. According to Dr. Mathers, this program is the oldest of its kind in the United States.
The world language department selected juniors for the exchange two years in a row, current exchange student Hannah Hardiman and now Hanoyan. But the Weston-Rombas exchange program encourages current freshmen to apply to the program because most juniors would miss required courses and experiences while abroad. Despite the challenges he faces academically, Hanoyan said he is determined to not fall behind.
“I am taking Pre-Calculus and Spanish in France, and I am taking an American history course online,” said Hanoyan. “I am also taking the ACT this spring because I want to focus on being immersed in the French culture without being distracted.”
Even with his preparation, there is one event that Hanoyan will be forced to miss.
“I am not happy about missing prom, but I do have this amazing opportunity available to me,” said Hanoyan.
Hanoyan said he knows he will have no regrets in taking this opportunity.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I know I will happily look back at this experience,” said Hanoyan.

Jackie Foody spent the 2010-2011 academic year in Rombas.  Read about her experience below:
“I enjoyed my time in France because it helped me learn a new language and different cultures that I didn’t know much about before. I developed friendships in Rombas and I have kept those friendship bonds going even at such a long distance. This trip changed me because it taught me to be open-minded in regards to other cultures and daily rituals. If I had the opportunity to take part in this, or any exchange, I would take it in a heart beat.  This year was amazing and life changing for me!”