Students enrolled in French courses at Greensburg Salem High School could combine their studies with a mid-summer sojourn abroad if a proposed trip to Paris and the French Riviera comes to fruition.
School board members learned last week about the potential nine-day trip from district French instructor Stephanie Grace, who intends to serve as a chaperone along with a fellow faculty member and former student, Laura Hoffer.
Grace said the itinerary and experiences offered to students enrolled in French III or a higher-level course aligns with national standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
In addition to visiting landmarks, she said, trip participants would “taste some of the food, do some of the traditions that exist in the country and learn about the way those people and the attitudes that we believe share about some things.”
Students will be expected to sharpen their problem-solving skills as well as their command of the language.
“They’ll need to get comfortable getting out of their comfort zones, speaking to the people and dealing with any challenges,” Grace said.
She is in her 16th year of teaching French at Greensburg Salem and has participated in five trips abroad with students. Grace previously lived and taught abroad for two years.
The trip is being planned through EF Educational Tours, which also has partnered on trips for students at Greensburg Central Catholic, Penn-Trafford and McKeesport Area high schools. Grace traveled twice with the tour company while she was a high school student.
The Greensburg Salem trip has an estimated cost of about $4,500 per participant, Grace said. That includes travel, accommodations and two meals per day; students are responsible for the cost of other meals and snacks, passport and baggage fees and tips.
Several board members agreed with Grace that the price is a good one for a nine-day trip through France, including Paris and the French Riviera.
There will be a full schedule of activities for the students, Grace said. “It’s a very busy time of the year.”
“It’s life-changing,” board member Lynn Jobe said of the trip’s potential for students.
Grace said the company places an emphasis on safety, with travel insurance for the students included.
“If a student does get covid on the trip, then they will fly a parent over for free in order to help them with the quarantine process or any subsequent hospitalization,” she said.
One fundraiser has been held for the trip and others likely will be planned.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .