FCPS Trip to France at a Glance


Taylor Johnson, Writer

Governor Thomas Johnson High School French students join FCPS on its 2023 trip to France! With stops in Paris, Lyon, and Strasbourg, students get to put their French-speaking skills and cultural knowledge to the test! Attendees will be immersed in French cuisine, culture, and history for eight days in these various locations. Trip chaperone and student attendees also tell what they are most excited about for this once-in-a-lifetime excursion!

Chateau de Villadry in France

Visitors will see the spectacular sights of Paris, like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and other locations! In Strasbourg, trip attendees will see Église Saint-Thomas, Barrage Vauban, Petite France, Gothic Strasbourg Cathedral, and Place Gutenberg. Once traveling to Lyon, students and chaperones will have a culinary-themed guided tour of Lyon to gain more knowledge of France’s cuisine. Lastly, in Annecy, Lyon, attendees will experience a guided tour of Chateau d’Annecy, Palais de L’Île, and other old town sites.

Sophomore at TJ and French-learning student attendee Victoria Widener says that she most looks forward to “…experiencing what it’s like in a different country and getting to experience the culture.” She adds, “I love to travel so this whole trip gets me really excited too.” When asked how she feels learning about the culture and language will benefit her in visiting France, Victoria responds, “I feel that it [knowing French] will benefit me when I’m in situations where I have to speak to others that only speak French.”

TJ’s French teacher and France trip chaperone, Ms. Paige Spangler, says, “I’m excited to check out some new cities…I’ve never been to Lyon or Strasbourg…And I’m excited to experience Paris with students that have never been there…their experience for the first time and see their reactions.” When asked about the benefits of students visiting another country in high school, precisely one that they have learned about in the classroom, she responds, “This is definitely an experience that kind of solidifies your learning and — for the culture side — to put everything together. Even if it’s not a country that you’ve studied, studying abroad or visiting outside of where you’re from is really a good way to open your mind and just see how other people live, the challenges, see what’s kind of cool or trendy, the fashion and food…and just a lot of positives to traveling.”

This trip is made possible through the third-party educational tour organization, © 2022 EF Education First. According to EF Tours, students traveling overseas for educational tours will receive many more benefits than those going on a simple trip. Learning outside the classroom allows students to step out of their comfort zone in communicating with the people of another country, specifically one of the native languages and cultures they have been learning. Additionally, attendees build a better understanding of the cultures of the countries they visit, increasing their independence and self-awareness by communicating across these cultures. Lastly, students will become better collaborators in gaining the necessary skills to navigate the world by gaining leadership and decision-making skills in a new environment.

Traveling to France will enable French-learning students to use their interpersonal and cultural skills to communicate with the French people. On top of visiting one of the most touristic and beautiful countries in the world, students will dive into the culture, knowledge, and history behind it.