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Host a French Exchange Student in October

Antoine Loosen Arthur Wildemersch Baptiste Fruchart Hugo Garcia
Antoine Loosen Arthur Wildemersch Baptiste Fruchart Hugo Garcia
Malo Leon Pierre Nay Victor Joly
Malo Leon Pierre Nay Victor Joly

Father Francis is still searching for Priory families to host French students! The students, pictured above, are visiting us in October. Here’s a humorous look at the experience of one host family:

The Pros and Cons of Hosting a French Student:
In an effort to educate and inform those families that are considering hosting a French student, I have listed the following pros and cons of hosting.

Pro: Because of the culinary excellence of France, you may feel intimidated by your student’s normal cuisine, therefore, you will be inspired to cook delicious and creative meals for your student and family.

Con: You will put on a fraudulent show of nightly mealtime with your family- instead of eating standing up in the kitchen, in your car in the drive-thru, or in front of the television, you will dine in the dining room, with the finest china, use an array of matching cloth placemats and napkins, a crystal water pitcher (this old thing?) and dessert every night.

Pro: The experience will make you see St. Louis in the eyes of a tourist and appreciate the city’s rich culture and attractions.

Con: Once again (Operation French Fraud) you will be acting like you always just pop on over to the Art Museum, Grant’s Farm, the Zoo, the Hill, a Cardinals’ baseball game and Ted Drewes all in one week.

Pro: Your son’s French (and the family’s) will improve upon communication with your student, including hand signals and sign language.

Con: You will realize that nobody in the family can really speak French and that your student may go an entire week without communicating with his family because you failed to understand that “wee-fee” meant wi-fi.

Pro: You will introduce your student to American favorites like cheeseburgers, pancakes and bacon.

Con: Because you trying to give him the ultimate American experience, you will eat multiple cheeseburgers and pancakes at different restaurants to find his favorite and now all of a sudden-yours. (Note-this is only while you are not conducting the fraudulent meal time scenario as stated above.)

My advice for hosting a French student is “DON’T PANIC,” enjoy the experience, your student, the improved mealtime with your family, the St. Louis sights, and speak slowly and listen carefully! It is truly a great experience and one you will never forget.

Priory Mom Melanie Krebs had a wonderful experience:
When Stephen was a sophomore he came home one day very excited to ask Bill and I if it was possible to host a student from France. Here is what went on in my little thought bubble: Yes, how fun, but…Stephen is so busy. Yes, but, how can he manage school work, football and hosting a student? The house is forever being worked on. What will I feed this young man? What if he's homesick or  doesn't like us? Do we have a room that he would be comfortable in? Despite all of these questions and more we said yes. We are so glad we did! 

Our student/friend, Louis, was fluent in English. He was a kind and thoughtful young man. He told us immediately that he wanted to be "fully immersed in the American family experience." We still chuckle when we think of some of the things that Louis said and did. For instance, on entering our house, "Oh! Our house is in several stages of renovation too!" The first night at dinner I made lasagna and salad. I asked Louis if he was hungry and he said "not really" and  proceeded to eat three helpings of lasagna, bread and salad. Hmm! Breakfast was six pieces of bacon, maybe some fruit, sometimes eggs. (So much for all the crepes and quiche!) Every morning Louis came downstairs I was greeted with a kiss on the cheek and a happy “good morning.” After repeated attempts to do Louis' laundry he told me his mother said she would be so mad at him if he let me wash his clothes. Reluctantly, he allowed me to do one load.

Louis was very interested in our culture and sharing his. One night he gave us an online tour of his neighborhood, school and places that he enjoyed going. He told us all about his home life, family, and school. In particular, he was interested in environmental issues. We had some great conversations about measures his family is taking to make their home environmentally friendly.

During the week the students had planned activities that took up much of their day. In the evenings we mostly did what we normally do. Louis made himself at home, working on his assignments while Stephen did his homework. In between we played a lot of ping pong. One night we went to the outlet mall and the Trek store. Weekends the boys had group activities, paintball, City Museum and a tour of St. Charles. 

The last night of the visit all of the families and boys gathered for a group meal at a restaurant. It was a great way to share stories and community. I was so sad when I dropped Louis off at school on the last morning of his visit. He really became part of our family.

We are grateful that we had the opportunity to be a host family. It was much easier than I had originally envisioned. The icing on the cake was Stephen's trip to France the following summer. He stayed with Louis and his family. What an adventure he had! Have your sons talk to Stephen. Please call Bill or I if you have any questions at all about this chance to share this wonderful experience for your family and a charming young student from France as well!

And Priory Mom Ann Mardis shares her story:
We really enjoyed having Remy stay with us last year. He was very polite and helpful and was agreeable to doing anything we offered. He was my second son. His favorite activity was going to the Rams game and he was so excited when we bought him a Rams jersey before he left. (He expected nothing.)  He was grateful for everything!!

The only thing that is a bit difficult is that the French students are on holiday and the Priory boys still have a lot of homework but Bruce and I made sure he kept busy doing things he enjoyed. Overall, a great experience!

Please consider hosting one of our incoming French exchange students! For more information or to sign up to host, contact Father Francis at (314) 434-3690 x149 or

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Prologue, 1

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Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
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