HHS Welcomes French Exchange Students


Lauren Brockwell

French exchange students and their Hingham hosts pose with their jack-o’-lanterns.

Trevor Buckeridge, Contributing Writer

On Thursday, October 27, a group of students from Cahors, France arrived in Hingham to embrace a week-long journey of cultural discovery at HHS. The group of 18 students stayed with volunteer host families at HHS. 

The students attended their first day of school in Hingham on Friday and they stayed through the following week. By joining the HHS community, the students aimed to improve their English skills and gain insight on the day to day lifestyle of American students. That being said, the exchange students displayed varying levels of proficiency in the English language, some able to talk with ease, while others used google translate as their primary means of communication. 

It was undoubtedly difficult for the French students to remain attentive during the school days due to the language barrier between them and the material being taught. Thankfully, the students had lots of time to experience America outside of the classroom.

Over their first weekend, many of the students got to experience an authentic American Halloween weekend, going with their host students to various celebrations. Some students brought their French friends trick-or-treating and carved pumpkins with them.

On Tuesday ,the exchange students visited Faneuil Hall in Boston and went on a bus tour to explore the city’s historic landmarks. On Thursday, they returned to Boston with their host students and went to the Prudential Center. 

On Saturday morning, the students departed from Logan Airport to go to New York City to experience

the city for one night. They returned to France on Sunday evening. 

When questioned on the biggest differences between America and France, many students noted the size of the school. Clement, who was hosted by Nick Dubois, shared that his favorite thing about America was Chick-Fil-A and went on to say that “everything in America is bigger, the people, the buildings, everything.” Clement, who also goes by Clem, arguably had the best English of the group, and consequently bonded with many Hingham students. 

Students Nicolas and Guylian agreed with Clem on the fact that Hingham High was much bigger than any school they had seen in France. The two also shared that the food in America was among their favorite things about the country.

When questioned on some of the biggest cultural differences between school in France versus America, Eléonore claimed that in France they “don’t wear pajamas to school,” distinguished by a silk handkerchief draped around her shoulders. She also said that school in America seems much more fun, as they often have to stay at school from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and complete lots of homework on top of the massive amount of in-classroom hours. She said that the teachers in America are very cool, allowing students to eat and go on phones during class.

Lauren Brockwell, a senior at Hingham High said that even though she is fluent in French, she tried not to speak French to her exchange student, Lilou, because learning English was the main objective of the program. Lilou said that if she had to live in America for the rest of her life, the thing she would miss most about France would be “the language and the breakfast…croissants, chocolatine.” 

Overall, the French exchange students seemed to love their time in Hingham. They only good things to say about their experience at the school, which allowed them to form a broader understanding of the country as a whole. In April, students from Hingham will have an opportunity to travel to Cahors and see their French friends again. During April break, HHS students will stay with French host families and attend school for a week.