Students and teachers from Lycee Hugues Capet in Senlis, France, visited Oklahoma City in April as part of an ongoing annual exchange program with Harding Charter Preparatory High School and Casady School.
The program matches students with their foreign peers and live as they do for two weeks, attending class, social events and experiencing family life. Each year it focuses on a theme that allows students to learn about each other. Among areas they've examined include each other's justice system, the relationship between France and the U.S. during World War II and musical arts.
The Oklahoman asked two students and two teachers to give their impressions of Oklahoma and tell us five things they learned during their visit.
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1. We've learned about the history of this country and this state with the Native American tribes' history and “The Trail of Tears,” and how so many tribes still live here.
2. We've learned from our visit to the Chisholm Trail Museum in Kingfisher that Ma Dalton and the Dalton Gang really existed. We saw the replica of her log cabin. She is no longer for us just a comic book character that we read in the comic book “Lucky Luke.”
3. We've learned about the April 19, 1995, bombing and how through the bombing memorial Oklahomans have never forgotten this tragedy and have built a very moving place of commemoration and resilience.
4. We've learned about cultural differences with, for example, how the driving distances are calculated: in kilometers for Europeans whereas in minutes or hours for Americans!
5. We've learned about the real meaning of many “ships” — that is, partnerships between three schools: French Lycee Hugues Capet in Senlis and Americans in Oklahoma City's Casady School and Harding Charter Prep, but also friendships, both for students and teachers; and, most importantly, successful and enriching relationships between two cultures.
1. Some people were happily surprised to buy souvenirs cheaper here than in France. In this way, French students bought a lot of clothes at brands like Hollister and Abercrombie. But sometimes they forgot that they have to add the tax to the price.