ELISA Takes on France

Over the summer seven rising juniors, accompanied by Madame and Dr. Borrmann, had the opportunity to travel to France for a month. They went as a part of the Ellen Long Intercultural Study Abroad program (or ELISA), which is a homestay program of language immersion and cultural learning. The program is named after Ellen C. Long, who had a great appreciation for language and was dedicated to building bridges across cultures and peoples. ELISA is generously funded by alum Dr. Dixon Long ’51 and has been offered to WRA students for the past 18 years.

After landing in Paris, the group, consisting of Ana Villada ’20, Christine Chan ’20, Collin North ’20, Matt Stefan ’20, Sophie Borrmann ’20, Stephanie He ’20, and Walker Larivae ’20, headed to the town of Nay in the southwest. Here they met with their host families and attended classes with their hosts at St. Joseph, a five day boarding school. During their three week stay with their host families, the group went on many day trips to nearby cities and towns such as Lourdes and Pau. After concluding their homestays, the group traveled to a couple more spots in Southern France, including a music festival in Arles.

One unique trip following the homestays was to an old quarry called Les Carrières de Lumières, which translates to the “quarry of lights.” Projected onto the walls of the quarry were works by Picasso with classical music playing in the background, which set the mood beautifully. Sophie Borrmann’s favorite place was Le Baux de Provence, an ancient stone town with a great view, which she described as “like going back in time.”

The group spent their final days in Paris sightseeing and taking in the culture. The last night, the group dined in a formal restaurant that offered cuisine from Bourgogne.“It was a very nice way to end an amazing trip,” explained Matt Stefan. Their departure from France, however, will not be the last time they see their hosts. A group of students and two teachers from St. Joseph will be visiting WRA in a couple of weeks.

– Farris Wolf Hamzeh ’20

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