At the start of February, Tabor Academy welcomed three students from the Saint-Denis International School in Loches, France. After four weeks of living and learning at the School by the Sea, Nina Van Cauberg, Gabriel Campion, and Axel Buzele are headed back home. Along with their suitcases and Seawolf swag, they are bringing new friendships, lifelong memories, and a global perspective on learning back with them.
“The success of this intercultural and linguistic exchange is owed to these three students, who immersed themselves fully and approached novel situations with curiosity and good will, and the many adults and students who welcomed them to our community across academic, co-curricular, and residential programs,” says Jon Sirois, Director of Global Education.
The idea for the exchange program was first developed in the fall of 2019 after Sirois met Martin Chatagnon, Vice Principal and Director of International Programs at Saint-Denis. After conversations about partnership, Mr. Chatagnon visited Tabor in January of 2020, shortly before the spread of Covid-19. Despite the pandemic, Sirois and Chatagnon stayed in touch virtually. Three years later, they jumped at the opportunity to begin the in-person exchange.
“The goal of this program is to learn other cultures by visiting other schools; that’s what we did here. Like in France, there are 25 students in class, while here there are 12. It makes it easier to learn and it creates a real relationship between teachers and students. Here, your teacher takes care of you,” reflects Nina Van Cauberg.
While at Tabor, the students took a complete course load, participated in the co-curricular program, and lived in student residences. The students agreed that though the language barrier was difficult at times, they were able to overcome the challenge and grow from it.
“For homework it was a bit complicated, but my roommate would help me. Because we had to use English, I learned different vocabulary and practiced more,” says Van Cauberg.
Beyond their academic responsibilities, all three students took full advantage of their time on campus. Whether it was participating in a variety of weekend activities or joining impromptu karaoke competitions, they learned what it means to be part of the school community at Tabor. Looking ahead, Seawolves will have a similar opportunity when they travel to France in June. Learn more about Tabor’s international and global programs here.
“These three students were a great resource for the nine Tabor students and two faculty members that will travel to Saint-Denis in June,” continues Sirois, “We look forward to the outgoing program in France this summer, as well as what we hope will be many years of a committed and productive partnership with Saint-Denis!”
Bon voyage Nina Van Cauberg, Gabriel Campion, and Axel Buzele!