Testimonies of American Youth Ambassadors 2015

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Mabintou’s testimony

IMG_7596“The American Youth Ambassador Program consists of a two week stay in France with 15 high school students and 3 chaperones. The objectives of the program are to develop participants’ civic duty, build upon their interest for community service/ volunteering and to develop an intercultural dialogue between French and American youth.

Our first week in Paris was filled with many activities. We visited the famous Norte Dame cathedral. We walked the Champs Elysee, saw the Arc de Triomphe, took a tour through Bateaux Mouche on la seine and climbed the wonderful Eiffel Tower. We met many alumni who gave us good advice on ways to use this program to our advantage.

I learned so much from this trip. My French vocabulary developed a loIMG_7682t since I had to speak in French for most of the voyage. The main thing that I learned from this voyage was the fact that France is a country filled with so much culture and history. All stereotypes that I had about the French were broken immediately. I would never have travelled to France without this program. It brought to me closer to the French culture and language. This trip was a blessing filled with one in a lifetime experiences that I will cherish forever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who made this experience possible.”

Angie’s testimony

IMG_7687“I chose to do this program for three reasons. First, being able to travel to France at no cost was absolutely incredible. I wanted to get exposed to a whole new culture. I’ve been living in America almost my whole life and I wanted to experience another culture even if it was only for two weeks. Second, being able to attend a French school was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I wanted to be able to see a French student’s school life. Third reason, I hoped to gain knowledge of the customs and language of that atmosphere. I hoped that staying with a French family will help me improve the language by putting me in a situation where speaking French is the only way I can communicate my thoughts.

IMG_7632During the first week in Paris, we got to visit government buildings, museums, restaurants, and symbolic structures. This included the Eiffel Tower, the National Assembly, A creperie, and le Louvre. The second week my group travelled to Lille. Our week consisted of visiting the Musee de la Piscine, the University of Lille, and the high school, Montebello. The first day, we had to go with our correspondents to their classes. We also went to different associations such as Kifkif to learn about their goals as a group. We also did recreational activities, such as shopping, playing laser tag, and playing Inquest with the French Youth ambassador alumni as well as with our French correspondents.

Throughout this trip, I have gained a lot of skills and knowledge. First of all, this trip has really given me an idea of my life in a couple a years, a life where I have to go out of my comfort zone and be away from home. It has opened my eyes to reality, to see the way other people in the world live their daily life. I have improved in my French language because I was forced to speak it since my French host family barely spoke English. I learned so many facts about the French culture as well as being able to observe it with my own eyes.”

Myrabel’s testimony

IMG_7683“The Youth Ambassadors Program allows high school students and adult mentors from different countries to work together to promote a mutual understanding and respect of other cultures, increase leadership skills, and encourage the youth to make an impact by helping different communities, both locally and even globally.

Initially, I applied for this program as a way to be able to travel to the country from which my native language—French—comes from and experience a different culture. However, as my involvement with the program increased, I realized that I was gaining a lot more. As a youth ambassador, I got the opportunity to not only visit France and many of its attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, but also get interesting lessons regarding French history, diplomacy, and way of government. Additionally, I got to visit real French non-profit organizations, and witness the everyday life of a French student which was a great experience. IMG_7745

Because of this program, I now have a newfound interest in international relations and diplomacy, something that I had never thought of studying prior to my trip to France. Thus, I am more than happy I participated in the Youth Ambassadors Program, as it allowed me to broaden my horizons and introduced me to a world broader than the one I was used to.”

Ashlyn’s testimony

IMG_7602“The purpose of the Youth Ambassadors program was to promote equal travel opportunity by offering travel opportunities to those who would not be able to afford it, create opportunities for knowledge-sharing and intercultural dialogue among French and American youth and develop youth’s civic awareness and interest in having a voluntary commitment. The Youth Ambassadors that were chosen for the program represented the Youth of the United States in participating in civic initiatives abroad.

IMG_7628Activities from both weeks showed French culture and values, and taught us about the French government or education system beyond what we learn in school. For example, saw the big monuments of France, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Le Louvre. We also saw the L’Assemble Nationale and Office of Foreign Affairs to learn about the government system. We saw the University of Paris and also went to several classes with our correspondents at school the second week in Toulouse, Lille, or Bordeaux, to observe and learn about the school system. Also, staying with a host family the second week gave us a good idea of the French lifestyle.”

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