Glen Burnie High students return favor as French students' hosts


November 04, 1998|By Bonita Formwalt | Bonita Formwalt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"WOULD YOU like a Coke to drink?" my son asked his guests very slowly and loudly as he pantomimed a cool, refreshing thirst quencher.

Asked why he was addressing the trio of young men in such a manner, my son nodded knowingly and whispered, "They're French."

Foreign exchange students had arrived in Glen Burnie.

The young men attending a Halloween party at our home last weekend were among the dozen students who accompanied their teacher on a three-week trip from France as part of a cultural exchange program between Glen Burnie High School and the Camille See lycee in Paris. Their visit was the second stage of a two-part exchange program that began in July when 11 Glen Burnie High students visited Paris and stayed with host families. Last month, the French students arrived for a taste of American life.

In addition to staying in the homes of Glen Burnie students, the French visitors attended classes, social events and went sightseeing with their hosts. Bruno Da Silva, a 16-year-old Parisian, said the trip to Glen Burnie was the best part of his visit to the United States. He liked the tours of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., but the chance to interact with American students made the trip memorable.

Da Silva stayed with the family of 17-year-old senior Mark Hodski, who had stayed with Da Silva's family while visiting Paris last summer. Da Silva went to homecoming celebrations, tried trick-or-treating and played a few hundred games of Nintendo.

While absorbing as much of the local culture as possible, Da Silva also shared his experiences as a teen-ager in France with many of the American students, discussing the differences and similarities between the two cultures.

Sitting with high school boys one afternoon, he expressed amazement at the differences in how American teens relate to their families, friends and teachers. The casual relationship American teachers enjoy with their students was a big surprise.

"In France, we listen to the teacher and are very attentive. If you speak, the teacher will say, 'Get out,' " said Da Silva. "It is ridiculous. If I put my foot on a table, I'm finished."

Da Silva explained to a group of students that his classes last from 8 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m. or even 5: 30 p.m. and are followed by three hours of homework.

He said he spends weekends playing soccer or tennis, or swimming. In many ways, his free time is spent like other teen-age boys': listening to rap music, going to movies, thinking about girls -- blond girls, he said.

"All the girls here have blond hair. It's nice," Da Silva said with a grin.

The exchange students return to Paris tomorrow, taking with them photographs, souvenirs and memories -- perhaps enough to make a return trip worth the effort.

"It's very nice here, more cool. Paris is more stress. I prefer to live here where the people are cool and friendly," said Da Silva.

Other students participating in the exchange host program were Hana Lynn Colvin, host of Sabrina Djadi; Andrew Diaz, host of Aurelien Saliba; Victor Henderson, host of Phillippe Martins; Elyse Jankowski, host of Penelope Cosset; Erin McIntyre, host of Caroline Laurent; Autumn Moreland, host of Sophie Berjot; Heather Srock, host of Daniela Bella; Alli Stillman, host of Marie-Liesse Brochard; Jonathan Temple, host of Romain Roussel; and Libby Wallace, host of Alice Valentin. Kelly Steger was a host, and Glen Burnie teacher Yolanda Perry welcomed her French counterpart into her home.

Harvest Hoe-down

There's a Harvest Hoe-down planned for parishioners of Holy Trinity Catholic Church from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday in the church hall, 7436 Baltimore- Annapolis Blvd.

This free autumn celebration has become a family favorite. All ages are welcome, although children must be accompanied by adults. A square-dance caller will provide the instruction while guests provide enthusiasm and a snack to share with the group.

Information: 410-859-5287.

Directors election

A meeting of the Fox Chase Village Homeowners Association has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Woodside Elementary School, 160 Funke Road.

Topping the agenda will be the election of two directors to serve on the board.

Bingo Blast

The Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd will hold a Bingo Blast at 1 p.m. Sunday in the church hall, 1451 Furnace Ave. For $20, participants will receive a chicken dinner platter, soft drinks and a chance for a $500 jackpot.

Information: 410-761-4977 or 410-766-1102.

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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