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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Off to a running start!

We've officially made it through our first week in St. Brieuc.  The flight was uneventful, everyone's bags arrived with us and the host families were on time (even early) picking up their stagiaire from the meeting point when we arrived in St. Brieuc.  The bus ride was long and after more than 15 hours of traveling, everyone was tired and slept nearly all day Tuesday.  After one day to rest and adjust to the time change, we had our first day of classes and orientation on Wednesday, June 10.  The stagiaires recommitted themselves to the Honor Code and the language commitment and they shared these aspects of the program with their host families at our first host family meeting that night.

Thursday, June 12,  we had our first mini-event after a partial day of classes. Everyone took a guided tour of the city of St. Brieuc and learned about it's rich history and its role in the region and in modern France.  We visited the Cathédrale of Saint-Etienne and saw some of the oldest buildings in the city. The stagiaire also learned the basics of the structure of French government as we viewed observed the Préfecture (a regional government building) and other important sites in the city. Below is a group photo of the stagiaires in front of the Office du Tourisme.

In front of the Office du Tourisme before our guided tour of St. Brieuc

Friday, June 13, we had our first real excursion. After morning classes and lunch, we boarded the bus to head to Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte.  Cap Fréhel is a light house on the coast and Fort La Latte is a restored chateau-fort, today maintained by a private organization, but which served a vital role in French history as the region of Brittany is positioned just across the English Channel from England. We began the excursion by exploring Cap Fréhel and taking in the beautiful landscape of the coast and the sea. Then the stagiaires valiantly braved a 5 kilometer hike from Cap Fréhel to Fort La Latte where we received a guided tour of the chateau-fort from a very feisty guide. The stagiaires learned the difference between "le donjon" in French (the residence of the chateau's lord) and "the dungeon" in English (a prison) and gazed into the "oubliette" where prisoners and others were put to serve out sentences for crimes or other offences.  Group pictures from both Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte are below.

Cap Fréhel
A brief break on the hike between Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte
Fort La Latte

The stagiaires passed the weekend with their host families and Monday we had our first full day of classes.  We also celebrated the birthdays of Molly and Nina with cidre (non-alcoholic of course) , cookies and other treats. Pictures from Monday as well as others taken throughout the last week can be found at the links below.

Departure Day

Visite de St. Brieuc

Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte

Typical Day at School

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