Firefighting Frenchmen


Allay Lu Freeman

The firefighters talk to French classes

Sophie Terian, Writer

Each year through a program at their university, a few aspiring firefighters from Bordeaux, France journey to Johnson County. The opportunity to intern in the United States combines fire fighting skills with English immersion and cultural education. As an added bonus, the firefighters spend a day at West and converse with students in French classes.

Prior to the visit, students prepare questions ranging from,  “What’s your favorite French movie?” to, “What do you like least in America?” to, “How hard is it to get into a French university?” The firefighters respond primarily in French, which provides challenge to students, as native speaking is much different from textbook audio recordings.

Junior Grecia Castillo enjoys the opportunity.

“It [talking to the firefighters] is pretty cool, considering I’m going to France this summer. It gives me practice to know how fast they talk,” Castillo said.

Being just a few years older than high schoolers lets students better understand what teenagers are like in France, and what their world is like.

“They showed us pictures of their home, those are gorgeous,” Castillo said, “[It was cool to hear about] where they come from- we learned that Baptiste’s dad is a postman and his mom is a teacher, yet he chose firefighting.”

The firefighters will be spending the next three months at three local fire stations. West sends them “meilleurs voeux” (best wishes)!