Bon Voyage! Deux Semaine en France

Bonjour! Today was my first full day of a two week stay in France. I’m here with 15 other students as part of my school’s exchange program. Specifically, I’m staying in Saint Germain-de-la-Grange, a town outside of Versailles (about 45 minutes from Paris). I’m staying with Victor’s family, the exchange student who stayed with me for two weeks in February.

Here Victor is in Times Square:

Victor in Times Square. With Spider Man in the background, nbd. #frenchexchange #NYC #TimesSquare #spiderman

A post shared by Jack Struck (@jackstruck) on

This is the first post from my trip. I hope to post every couple of days (or more). You can find all of the posts here.

Sunday, 4/14
We left the US Saturday afternoon, taking a flight to Dublin, then to Paris. Arriving at around 10 in the morning local time on Sunday, I was both bouncing off the walls with excitement and about to fall over from how tired I was. I managed to stay awake long enough for a brief driving tour of a couple of French monuments before I fell asleep for most of the drive to Victor’s house.

Once there, we ate lunch outside and I discovered croix monsieur (delicious ham and cheese sandwiches, in this case served as bite sized) and caviar (which I don’t remember ever having tried before). The weather was amazing; we had sun all day and I think it reached 70°F (pardon, 21°C).

After that, Victor and I met up with the other exchange students and we spent the afternoon wandering around and relaxing in the gardens of Versailles Palace. We also got the chance to meet the rest of Victor’s class there.

When we returned ‘home’ we had more delicious food: homemade mushroom pizza, Moroccan-grown tomatoes, and strawberries from the south of France (Provence, to be exact).

Monday, 4/15
Breakfast here is a lot lighter than in the US. We had toast with marmalade/jam or confiture de lait Normande, and coffee. Then we were out the door to school. In France, the school day is very long, but there aren’t as many extracurriculars afterwards. Victor’s school starts at 8:30 and goes until 16 or 17:00. His classes are longer than mine, but he does have a two-hour lunch, which is certainly nice. I used it to walk around Versailles with a few of the other exchange students.

I went to Chinese, math, economics, and social studies classes during the day with two other exchange students from my school. They were a bit hard to follow (especially the Chinese class), but we usually understood what was going on.

Victor and I took the train home and I was introduced to a fantastic French tradition: le goûter. It’s essentially a coffee break. I certainly needed it, as I still had jet lag.

Tomorrow I go to the Musée d’Orsay!

Jack Struck

Student in our nation's capital, studying International Relations with a focus on the Middle East. Web designer, runner, reader, and leader.

Leave a Message