November 23, 2017
School & Youth
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  • On September 1, 2016, Emily Shoults (blue shirt) congregated at the Eiffel Tower with other American students, and one Serbian citizen, who were preparing to meet their host families in France.
    On September 1, 2016, Emily Shoults (blue shirt) congregated at the Eiffel Tower with other American students, and one Serbian citizen, who were preparing to meet their host families in France.
  • Emily Shoults and her friend Emma posed in front of Lake Annecy, which was a 30-minute train ride from La Roche-sur-Foron.
    Emily Shoults and her friend Emma posed in front of Lake Annecy, which was a 30-minute train ride from La Roche-sur-Foron.
  • Emily Shoults (middle) hiked in the mountains of Bonneville with visitors from New Zealand, Norway, Germany and the United States.
    Emily Shoults (middle) hiked in the mountains of Bonneville with visitors from New Zealand, Norway, Germany and the United States.
  • Emily (right) said farewell to two Wisconsin friends as they carried their luggage through a Paris airport.
    Emily (right) said farewell to two Wisconsin friends as they carried their luggage through a Paris airport.

SPHS Junior Returns From Year Of Study In France

Jane Seiss
Jane Seiss's picture
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September 7, 2017

Through an American Field Service (AFS) youth exchange study abroad program, Severna Park High School junior Emily Shoults spent her sophomore year living with a host family in the small town of La Roche-sur-Foron in southeastern France. She arrived last August, speaking only a couple of words of French, and came home this summer, fluent in the foreign language.

Shoults went to a private Catholic school in La Roche-sur-Foron, a town with about 11,000 inhabitants, located in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region about 20 minutes from Geneva. “It was beautiful,” Shoults said. “From my room, I could see a perfect view of the mountains.”

The Nadaud family welcomed Shoults to their home. She lived with host parents, and three sisters and a brother ranging in age from 16 to 21. The family also owned a dog and a rabbit.

Although the Nadauds are bilingual and spoke English, Shoults eventually began to converse with them in French. “I decided to go to France for a year to get more culturally adjusted and learn more French,” she reasoned. “I just kind of figured it out.”

At the high school where she studied, Shoults was in the second year, known as “premier.” She noted that the level is equivalent to 10th or 11th grade in the United States. There were three total grades at the school and only about 500 students.

Shoults journeyed to Paris, the south of France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. “I enjoyed all the history and how old things were,” she said. “There was a church in my town that was built in the 14th century.”

She sometimes ventured out on her own and often met with friends she had made through the AFS program. “I was near the train station, and I traveled as much as I could,” Shoults said. “I liked being able to travel by train to visit things.”

She also delighted in meeting students from different countries. “I have a dream to visit every country in the world,” Shoults said.

Shoults just began her junior year at Severna Park High School. The Board of Education will decide if she will receive credit for her academic work in France. Any classes she needs to make up from sophomore year, she will complete in her junior and senior years.

Shoults’ own family is hosting a student from Paris this year. She has already taken her Parisian friend, Louise, to Washington, D.C., Ocean City and Annapolis.

In the future, Shoults hopes to study journalism and is considering University of Maryland University College and Northwestern University. “I’m planning to go back in 2019 to visit my friends in Europe who were part of the program,” Shoults said of returning to France.


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