The word "exchange" is derived from a French word meaning to give and receive reciprocally.

The word "exchange" is derived from a French word meaning to give and receive reciprocally.

So since Marysville High School hosted students from France last fall, students and teachers from MHS and Fairbanks High School are headed to France this spring.

This is the 10th year for the French and Spanish exchange program at the high school. The program alternates every other year between France and Spain, Spanish teacher Becky Shellhause said.

Shellhause and French teacher Lynn Taylor, along with Fairbanks teacher Sarah Stevens, will accompany 24 students -- 18 from Marysville and six from Fairbanks -- on the two-week trip beginning Monday.

"Only a certain number of students can go, and priority is given to students in the upper-level French classes," Taylor said.

And while there will be some "tourist" activities during the trip, "it's not exactly a vacation," Shellhause said.

During the two-week trip, students will tour several major sites in Paris, then travel by high-speed rail to spend time with host families in the provinces of Poitou and Charente on France's west coast. While with their host families, students will attend one full day of school and take field trips.

While most of the host students speak English, students are encouraged to speak French as often as possible. Additionally, students are required to keep a daily journal and do a class presentation upon their return.

"The purpose behind the exchange is not just for the participating students to get to experience France, but to bring that experience back to all the students in the language department," Taylor said.

"It gives students an international outlook, a global education," Shellhause said.

MHS junior Clayton Brown said he's looking forward to reconnecting with the French student his family hosted in the fall.

"I'm also excited about taking lots of pictures in Paris," he said.

"I love the language and I'm looking forward to being immersed in it," senior Marissa Graham said.

"The food," was junior Mackenzie Fordyce's simple answer when asked what she is most looking forward to.

"Just the travel and seeing a new place is going to be fun," senior Samantha Cowgill said.

Senior Taylor Evans, a fourth-year French student who also made the trip to France two years ago, is the only student making a return trip.

"I loved France and am glad to get a chance to see a different region of the country this time," she said. "One of the things I learned last time that will be helpful is to be more comfortable around my host family."

Additional students making the trip are: Elaine Dietsch, Daimler Diol, Trevor Garrett, Hannah Gleckler, Brandi Juncewicz, Alexis La Roche, Sarah Marsh, Carissa Parmenter, Mary Rogers, Megan Schmenk, Cirrocco Smart, Natalie Turner, Evan Zimmerman, Emma Kidwell, Bailey Nicol, Kathryn Rohrer, Jordan Schrader, Danielle Short and Ryan Vollrath.

Before the trip, students spend a lot of time fundraising, Shellhause said.

She calls the program "the exchange that never ends."

"Students make lifelong friends that they stay in contact with, and they have a 'family' in Europe," she said. "They're never quite the same."

Taylor will be doing a blog during the trip. It can be found at mhsfhs2009exchange.blogspot. com.