Woodside Meets France

The Woodside Paw Print meets with some of the French exchange students on campus.


Ben, French exchange student

French exchange student Ben is excited to explore the Bay Area.

Sara Raubvogel, Outreach Editor

Woodside welcomed eight French exchange students last week on Tuesday, April 17, who will be visiting the Bay Area for two weeks.  The Woodside Paw Print got a chance to talk to two visitors: Marie Vandenhende and Louis Gonzalez.

Gonzalez and Vandenhende, who are both sixteen years old, are both surprised by the size of Woodside High School. Gonzalez explains, “What we study is the same but this is really different. [Woodside] is really new.”

“Our [school] is like Poudlam in Harry Potter,” adds Vandenhende, describing her own lifestyle.  “Poudlam” is the French word for Hogwarts, the fictional school in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Roxy Reid, a Woodside freshman, reveals the influence that French exchange students have on Woodside’s community.

“I have a student from France in one of my classes and it is really interesting to hear about his life back at home,” Reid shares. “I think the visitors are showing Woodside a different culture and they are opening up Woodside’s students’ eyes toward a different part of the world. That is really important and good for the community.”

These new friends give Woodside students, like freshman host Nick Gonzales, unique opportunities to compare and contrast their personal lives and the visitors’ lifestyles.

“It’s fun asking him questions and finding out what France is like and how similar it is to the US,” Gonzales elaborates.  “[…France] is different because they have more homework, and their school is more strict. It is similar because they do the same stuff outside of school as we do, like hanging out with friends and they chill at home too.” 

I think the visitors are showing Woodside a different culture and they are opening up Woodside’s students’ eyes toward a different part of the world.”

— Roxy Reid

Not only are the French peers excited about being in California, their hosts are also happy to lead them around Woodside.

Woodside sophomore Sophie Morgan explains that “since all of my siblings are in college, having a student is kind of like having a sibling again and makes my house feel more full and lively. I like it a lot, it adds something new to my life and I love showing him around the area. I’d definitely do it again.”

At the end of the day, the French exchange students are in a very contrasting environment compared to their own home, and the Woodside Paw Print advises the community to remember that, although the visitors are here for everyone’s learning benefit, all students need to remain respectful when inquiring the new peers.

Morgan concludes, “I’ve learned that… being in a foreign country, where you have to try really hard to understand what’s going on around you, is very difficult, so [the exchange students] need time to relax after the day.”