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Very FrenchyThe entire tour really immersed us in the french culture and we ate french food, met french people, saw french sights, and took french transportation, which, in the end, made it really easy for us to be able to navigate Paris by ourselves. This trip made us feel like we were locals.
Best cultural immersionWhen being introduced to the different culture while travelling around in really opens up your eyes/ears to how everything works at the same time allowing fun entertaining learning experiences. It reflects not only on the new culture you learned but how your own compares/contrasts to it.
Unforgettable week in Paris!We LOVE EF! I've never met an EF staff person who didn't go above and beyond to make sure that our group was happy and well-taken care of. We had an amazing week in Paris. Every activity was just about as great as we would have imagined and our Tour Director even added activities for us throughout the week, as they became possible for us, including a Seine boat ride, athletic events with local Parisians, and buying us evening crepes on the street! Our students had an unbelievable, invaluable experience and I can't wait to travel with EF again!
Worth every penny!What an eye opening adventure that students and chaperones will remember for the rest of their lives!
Super Fun!I took the language Paris tour and it was super fun!! Just prepare to be busy!!! This tour has expanded my knowledge of the language by 100%!!! My one concern was there was not enough free time but other than that thumbs up!!!
Wonderful cultural & linguistic immersionWe just returned from an amazing trip to Paris with EF Tours and I thought I would share a bit about it since I think it could be a really great travel/language learning opportunity for high school French students. Although the program (this particular immersion tour) is still a work in progress, there is a lot that they are doing well (and compared to a typical tourist trip it was amazing)!
The general structure is thematic. The students spend 2-3 hours in French class every morning studying vocabulary and language structures that fit with the daily theme or art & history, cuisine, fashion, etc. This helps the students develop relevant and applicable language skills (and it is great for the teacher & chaperone since you have three hours of time to yourself every morning while they were in class).
In addition to their French lessons we did a lot of interactive activities as well as general site-seeing. The students participated in several scavenger hunts at various markets (in which they had to answer questions in French and interview locals), went shopping, went to a fashion show and learned how to dress like Parisians (it was fashion week), ate dinner with a French family, took a cooking class in French, and had a drawing lesson from local artists in the Luxembourg Garden!
Although there were a few activities (seeing a French movie, playing soccer with French teens, and visiting a French school) that we missed, I still saw my students' confidence and motivation blossom during this week of challenging and interactive activities. They all had an amazing time and were so proud of the progress they made. I would wholeheartedly recommend this trip!
Things to consider or be aware of:
If possible, bring more advanced students with similar language level. (This is definitely not a requirement though.)
In hindsight it would have been helpful and more cohesive if I had brought a group of intermediate students with generally the same language level. EF tests student language ability before the trip to place them in classes accordingly, but upon arrival the students were all in the same class. This actually ended up being fine and all of the students told me they still learned a lot and that the teacher was "amazing" (she also did not speak any English, which was great)! That said, a more cohesive and advanced group could move more quickly and would allow you to benefit even more from all of the interactive activities (for example, the dinner with locals & the movie screening are more 'successful' with students of higher language ability). If your students have lower level
language abilities or are at various ability levels, just make sure it is very clear with the tour consultant before the trip and that EF is aware that you will want the students separated into different level classes.
Prior to the trip, work closely with the tour consultant to make sure that you are scheduled to participate in all of the activities you intended.
As I mentioned above, there were a few really neat optional activities that we did not get to participate in (apparently the trips are created on the East Coast and there is some miscommunication between East and West Coast offices). Just make sure you are clear with your tour consultant about what you are doing each day and that the schedule is relatively set so that the daily language themes are consistent with the day's activities so that the morning language teacher is teaching the vocabulary and structures necessary for the students to really take advantage of each day's activities. (E.G. they learn to talk about monuments and the city on site-seeing days, food and ordering on cooking and market day, discussing art, color, history on museum day, clothing and opinion on fashion day, etc.)
Again, overall I found this trip extremely valuable and interactive with A LOT of potential. The students were more than happy.
Average ExperienceOverall, the trip and value was average. Granted, I've lived in Paris before, however, I believed that the cost of the trip (for the students) was over-priced.
1) Meals- None of the dinners were authentic French cuisine. I understand that it is difficult for a restaurant to cater to 18+ individuals, however, it would've been nice to fully experience one French dinner. (Appetizer, dinner, dessert). One of the dishes was grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. If I wanted that meal, I would've stayed in the states.
2) We spent more time shopping than exploring. Our tour guide did not have the activities planned ahead of time. Instead, she improvised based on the day. Everyday, we were given free time to explore, but we were in largely shopping areas. While Paris is known for its shopping, it is also know for its architecture and history.
3) Some activities were absolutely fantastic. One night, we participated in a French cooking class that both the students and chaperones loved! The chef and the hostess did an exception job teaching the students about French eating customs.