SOE News

A little worried, but very excited

Editor's Note: A group of 29 students and five teachers from Smith Middle School are on a 10-day trip to France and Belgium. Before they left, students from Robin McMahon's French class wrote their thoughts about their upcoming journey. Here are several of them.

I'm either more worried than I should be or less worried than what's expected of me in situations like these. No, I'm not talking about a hostage situation or an emergency situation. This situation is traveling to Belgium and being thrust into a whole new culture that speaks a completely different language than from what I'm used to in the United States. Just thinking about it gets me a little nervous, a little worried, mostly excited and just a tiny bit scared. I know that it's going to be a wonderful experience, touring Paris and speaking French to native speakers.

I'm also so excited that I'll get to see my pen pal, Adrienne, and stay at her family's home in Liege, Belgium. I always look forward to the e-mails I send back and forth with Adrienne. We've been communicating together since the beginning of seventh grade in 2005, and I've learned a lot about the modern culture and daily routines of kids who are my age who attend school and do activities just like me. Adrienne has always expressed a great hope of seeing the United States in her own eyes sometime, and she said that she would love to see the country she's heard so much about. I only wish that after I've seen her country, I am able to take her to see mine!

There are so many differences between the Belgians and the Americans, besides the obvious. I'd like to see how the school system and curriculum in Belgium differs from our North Carolina Standard Course of Study, what games the Belgians do for fun, and what extracurricular activities are offered.

When I first signed up to take French in sixth grade, I never dreamed that it would lead to this opportunity to learn more about another culture and broaden my global understanding. Yet, here I am, panicking over how many pairs of socks I'll need in Belgium and wondering whether I'll make a taboo mistake when I'm talking in French.

Another aspect of the trip I'm excited about is going to the headquarters of the EU (the European Union) and learning much more about the EU from European residents under the law of the EU.

I've learned so, so much since I started my quest for knowledge a few months ago, and I only want to keep expanding this knowledge and put it to good use for the future. Who knows the day when the EU will surpass the United States in power? From the view today, it's very likely that that will happen.

Jenny Lu is an eighth-grader at Smith Middle School.

The Chapel Hill News