Monday 12th October
We met the Americans to carve pumpkins all together and we did a scavenger hunt in Reading. Then we all met up for a nice dinner with the parents and the teachers.
Tuesday 13th October – Salem
We went with our exchange partners to the city of Salem, better known under the name of « the Witch City ». We took the bus at 8 o’clock and once we got there we went to the visitor center to watch a film on the history of the city. Then we boarded a trolley tour to discover the city. Up there we saw Houses with Halloween Decorations, some of them were very frightening.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t with us… After the lunch break and some shopping we headed towards the Witch Museum, we were able to attend a reproduction of a trial from the 17th Century, followed by a visit addressing the history of beliefs and superstitions through the centuries. I think this city is very nice for Halloween but I can’t imagine myself living there all my life !
Mathilde Lesaulnier & Mathilde Chiffoleau
Wednesday 14th October – Lexington and North Bridge
On Tuesday October 14th, we went to the city of Lexington by coach, where, thanks to videos and signs in visitors centers, we learned the story of the very early battles of the Independence War. In 1775, tensions began to rise in the English colony and the British army started walking from Boston to Concord to destroy ammos and weapons of the militia, which was the « separatist army ». On April 19th, two patriots, Paul Revere and William Dawes, spread the alarm to Lexington and Concord, so the supplies were quickly hidden. In the first city, when the British soldiers arrived, there was a brief battle during which the first patriots died. Then at North Bridge, near Concord, the militia and the army met and shot, no one knows who shot first. The British fled, trying to reach Boston, but many were killed: the Independence War had begun. After learning that, we had lunch in front of a visitor center, and went to the city of Lexington, to do shopping, and came back to Reading with the coach.
Tom Burel & Abel Cailly
Thursday 15th October – The State House
We went to the center of Boston. We all woke up around 6 a.m. and the meeting was at 7.30 a.m. We went to the “New State House” which is like a Parliament in France. The dome of the State House is covered with gold and topped by a pine cone. In front of the building there are a lot of statues like Webster’s and J.F.K.’s Inside the building there are different rooms like the Doric Hall where there are a painting of Abraham Lincoln and a sculpture of George Washington. There is also the Flag Hall where 320 flags of the cities of Massachusetts are displayed. In the “House of Representatives” and the “Senate” some laws are voted. In each house there is a fish hanging from the ceiling. It was a good experience and also a really interesting visit. Let’s make the dream come true !
Samuel Riochet & Emeline Faucon
Thursday 15th October – The city of Boston
Today, we ate in a public garden where we met many squirrels. Then we went on a trolley tour in the city of Boston; there were many skyscrapers like the Prudential Tower and art galleries like the Fine Art Museum. We observed the outside of Fenway Park where some baseball games take place. After that we crossed the Charles river by going over the Longfellow Bridge. To finish the afternoon we did some shopping on Washington street before getting home for dinner.
Albane Picquier & Justine Campe
Friday 16th October – The Freedom trail
We woke up at 6:30 am on a cold morning to visit Boston and to do the Freedom Trail. We first went to the Bunker Hill Monument and climbed the 294 steps to have a breathtaking view of Boston. After that, we walked in the harbor and we saw the USS Constitution, a warship. Then, we went to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground to draw a tombstone. Afterwards, the group visited the Old North Church and next, Paul Revere’s house. Then, we had lunch at Faneuil Hall and free time to go shopping. After lunch, we visited the site of the Boston massacre.
We also went to the Old State House, where every fourth of July the Declaration of Independence is read. Next, we saw the Statue of Benjamin Franklin, the famous scientist who invented the lightning rod, and soon after King´s Chapel Burying Ground and the Granary Burying Ground. A few minutes later, we stopped walking to draw the steeple of Park Street Church. After that, we finally had some free time before going back to Reading by train… What a big day !
Cyprien Berry & Guillaume Anssart de Lessan
Monday 19th October – JFK Library
As soon as we arrived at the JFK Library, we discovered the museum which is a quite big white building made up of a glass part. It has been designed by Ieoh Ming Pei (who also designed the Pyramid of the Louvre) and it is the nation’s official memorial to John F. Kennedy. We first started the visit with a twenty-minute movie about JFK’s youth. Then, we had some « free » time to visit the museum to learn more about that great man that was John Fitzgerald Kennedy and to complete our answer sheet as well… The museum displays personal items of the former president and shows archives and old movies such as his debates or speeches. We learned many things about him : he grew up in a big family (they were nine brothers and sisters), his ascension in his run for presidency, his 3-year mandate from 1960 to 1963, his famous speeches just like the one in Los Angeles on July, 15th 1960 or the one in Berlin in June 1963 until his awful death on November, 22nd 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Though John F. Kennedy was the youngest president of the USA, he left those words engraved in our mind: « a man may die, a nation may rise and fall, but an idea lives on ».
Marc-Adrien Pointel & Thibaut Lebourdais
Monday 19th October – Fenway Park
We spent the afternoon in Boston’s Fenway Park, which is the famous baseball stadium of the Red Sox (Boston’s baseball team). Baseball is the main sport played in the United States. There are two types of players: the hitter who has a bat in his hand and the pitcher who launches it. They wear baseball pants, a jersey, gloves, a hat and of course they hold a bat. The mascot of The Red Sox is a green monster with red socks. It has the same name as the green wall situated at the back of the stadium. We visited the place with a guide who taught us about its history and use. The first game played at Fenway Park was the World Series in 1912. The Red Sox often play there against their worst enemies The New York Yankees. It was very exciting to stand in the place where many famous people played such as Jackie Robinson (the first black baseball player), Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr. We were all really pleased to have the opportunity to visit that amazing place! It is really a thing to do !
Louane Buisson & Noémie Bosselin
Tuesday 20st October – Harvard
On Tuesday, the visits of the prestigious university of Harvard and the MIT were on our schedule. We arrived at 10 o’clock by subway. A Harvard student was appointed to show us around the campus. She started with showing us Lehman Hall which was a school only for boys and then became later a school for boys and girls but they were still separated. Then, we saw the Massachusetts Hall, the Harvard Hall and the Science Center (the part of Harvard which is dedicated to all sciences). We also visited the Memorial Church which was absolutely beautiful (the important thing to know is that this Church is more a place of memory paying tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives for America). We continued with the Harvard library which was really huge because it was extended on 5 floors ! We finally finished with the University Hall with the very famous John Harvard statue. One of the incredible things we learned is that a year in Harvard costs $66 000! Harvard’s school system is very different from ours because the students can choose the subjects they want to study (there are 5 000 possibilities!). We ate in the Harvard Yard and then in the afternoon we went to the MIT which is also a very important university campus in the USA. We finally walked to Faneuil Hall to have some free time and finish our shopping. It was a really interesting experience to visit these universities.
Guillaume Demeillers & Nicolas Mutel
Wednesday 21st October – The MFA
In the morning we went to Prudential Tower, and admired the Boston skyline from the 50th floor of the building. Then, we watched some short films about Boston’s immigrants, coming from so many different countries in the world, and some presentations about this city. We arrived at the MFA at 1:30pm and we divided our original group into two groups, and each group had a tour guide. Our tour guide told us that she would be showing us the artistic History of America from the Independence to nowadays through paintings. She showed us a portrait of Paul Revere and two artworks made by artists who aimed at demonstrating the survival aspect of the Independence War (« the Fog Warning, by Winslow Homer). We also saw paintings that have been made to celebrate and appreciate the beauty of nature, to make people aware of the beautiful natural resources that America has. Then, we moved on to a part of the museum which contains abstract paintings. They all had special meanings and represented some aspects of industrialization (Stuart Davis) and technology (Joseph Stella with the old Brooklyn bridge). Then we went downstairs to see this huge green sculpture, made by Dale Chihuly, named the Lime Green Icicle Tower, made of glass.
When our tour was over, we could have a look around the museum. I really liked the Egyptian part, and the Ern Hitts exhibition, which was really interesting and looked very good.
Noémie Penot & Héloïse Tournerie
Thurday 22nd October – Plymouth
We started he day by going to Plymouth to visit a peculiar boat : the Mayflower II. The original boat was an English boat which started from England in April 20th 1620 and got to the Americas in June 1620. The people it transported were Puritan Pilgrims. We also saw the Plymouth Rock. This rock was placed there to commemorate the arrival of the first pilgrims in 1620. After that, we went to the Plymouth plantation, a little village in which people live as if it was 1629. There were Indians and Englishmen. We visited several of their houses. And to end the day we had one hour in Plymouth to visit the town.
Vincent Médard, Clément Martin & Albéric de Folleville
Friday 23rd October – One day at school
The day usually begins at 7:30. My exchange student and I headed to the library, where teachers check if students are all here. Then, we went to an English class, in which students were supposed to have a test, a thing that didn’t happen because half of the pages of the text they had to study were missing. Afterwards, we went to the epidemic disease class, where we watched a documentary about the disease brought by the Americans to the Natives, and why it was a one-sided-butcher, why Native Americans didn’t give diseases to the Americans who eradicated them. Next, we had study class, in the library. Then, it was time for lunch, we ate in the cafeteria, and then, we went to a French class, where we did a cross-language puzzle game, in which we had to find and translate quotes, across many kinds of language games. The day ended, we went back home and did many interesting things with our own host families.
Antonin Assié & Rémi Dumont