Building a bridge to France


By Hyesoo Chae

Loisirs Culturels A l’Etranger exchange student Hippolyte enjoyed spending time with his host family Luanna and Patrick Albrecht. (Submitted photo)Without going outside of the country, the Loisirs Culturels A l’Etranger provides families in Carmel a chance to soak themselves in French culture. As a French organization, the LEC gives the opportunity of emerging French students in America.

Families in Carmel are allowed one student to host for three weeks in July and August. To be a host, a family can simply contact one of the coordinators by visiting, and fill out an application. The coordinators of the program aid the host in pairing the student who fits with the host’s interest, in order to create a stronger bond.

All of the students in the program are in high school with exposure to at least two years of English. Due to this, the families do not have to worry about their fluency in French.

The host families pick up the students in downtown Indianapolis where the students will have taken the bus down from Chicago.

There are two main groups in the program, discovery and emergent. The discovery group has planned field trips once a week; a trip to Chicago, the Indianapolis 500, and a downtown tour of Indianapolis.

Luanna Albrecht, a coordinator and former host of a French student, has thoroughly enjoyed her experience hosting a French student.

“It is an easy way for families to bring some culture into their lives, not a huge commitment and very fun,” Albrecht said.

Spending time with the French student helps not only the French student learn more about the United States but also the host to take a closer look at the French culture. Whether it is traveling or eating dinner, the learning can be reciprocated for the entire three weeks.

Although the LEC program is not an exchange program, many host families from Carmel have visited their student’s family in France due to the long-lasting bond.

The application process will be open until the first week of July for the session in July.

“The program gives you an appreciation for a culture that is different from yours,” Albrecht said.