Delaware students practiced saying "bonjour" and "merci" to the Canadian French-speaking men and women of Quebec during a school trip earlier this month.
Ten eighth-grade students, all of whom will be freshmen at Delaware Hayes High School in the fall, traveled to Quebec City June 10-14 with their Dempsey Middle School French teacher, Rebecca Shick.
A tour company led the students, along with some parent chaperones, around Quebec's capital as well as some smaller cities around Canada.
The purpose of the trip was to experience the culture and to practice speaking the language they learned throughout the previous school year, Shick said.
She said students also got a chance to learn about Canadian history.
"Quebec (City) has a very historic feel and is a rather large city," Shick said. "Many of the students have never experienced a big city like this that has a European feel as well."
This also was the first time some of the students had flown on an airplane, which was a big deal for some of them, Shick said.
She said they were excited to be in such a different place, and some said they wanted to move there.
"They loved being in another culture and speaking a different language," she said. "Some students said they were going to buy a house there when they're older."
The students participated in activities throughout the week organized by the tour company. They visited museums -- but didn't just look at the displays on the walls.
"The students were participating at the museums," Shick said. "When we were at Martello Tower, for example, the students acted as recruits in the British Army and were a part of the historical interpretation."
They also were able to experience local culture outside of the city. They visited a maple-syrup shop and a copper workshop.
"One of the trip highlights was making their own designs on the copper metal sheets," Shick said. "They were able to create their own artwork."
They also had free time in the afternoons to explore Quebec City on their own or to get a snack. Shick said she was happy to hear when they got back that the students were able to talk with people using the French they learned in the classroom.
"Although most of the tour is spoken in English, they were able to communicate with people using French," she said.
Shick said she believes a trip such as this offers great exposure for students of that age and is a great way for them to experience what they learn in the classroom.
"Being able to see these things firsthand opens their eyes and they're then able to learn in a totally different way because they've actually seen these things in real life," she said.