Exchange student takes in Haliburton 0
Angelica Blenich Staff Haliburton Highlands Secondary School student Daryl Woodley, left, recently welcomed French exchange student Astrid de La Briere into her home through a short term exchange program facilitated by the Minden Rotary Club. Daryl will be heading to France to live with Astrid at the end of this month.
She loves swimming, kayaking and being outdoors.
In many ways Astrid de La Briere is a perfect match for Haliburton.
The 17-year-old exchange student, who was born and raised in France, took in all that life in the Highlands had to offer during her month long visit this past July.
From just outside of Paris, Astrid came to Canada through a short term exchange Program facilitated by the Minden Rotary Club.
Club member Joanna Penfold visited the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School’s Interact Club to explain the program to interested students.
Daryl Woodley was immediately taken.
Daryl, 16, submitted an application and did an interview before being accepted into the program, which handles all the costs minus the plane fare.
“I’m super excited,” said Daryl. “I’ve always wanted to go to France.”
Living just outside Haliburton Village on Long Lake, Daryl and her family spent much of their time showing Astrid what a typical summer in July feels like.
Perfect weather and all.
“I like it, it’s so beautiful. The people are very friendly and there is good weather,” said Astrid.
Not knowing what she would find, the trip has exceeded any expectations she might have had.
“We’re pretty sure she thinks the only thing Canadians do is swim,” said Daryl.
Visits to the Dorset Tower and camping trips were also enjoyed by the girls, who both like to spend time outdoors.
One of the most memorable moments during Astrid’s exchange was a trip to Canada’s Wonderland.
“Right before we were about to go down on the Drop Zone she started freaking out and grabbing my hand and screaming her head off. By the time she got down, her entire face lit up,” said Daryl.
While Astrid isn’t fluent in English, she is able to get by and has learned a lot of the language since she arrived.
“When she first got here we took the dictionary to the dinner table every night so we were able to communicate, but now we don’t anymore,” said Daryl.
Describing the town of Haliburton as “cute,” Astrid says the experience has been “incredible.”
For Astrid her first ever visit to Canada has just flown by.
Before the end of the exchange the Woodleys made sure to take her to popular sights such as the CN Tower and Niagara Falls.
In France, Daryl will be visiting iconic spots such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and the Musée du Louvre.
“I’m probably going to be really exhausted but I’ll survive,” said Daryl, who has never been away from home for a month before.
She has a limited grasp of French, but is hoping to improve her knowledge this summer.
Upon arriving in France, Daryl will be spending part of her exchange near Paris and the remainder at Astrid’s summer residence on an island off the coast of France.
Not knowing what to expect prior to Astrid’s arrival, it didn’t take long for them to get accustomed to one another.
“It was intimidating at first but now we act like sisters and play with each other’s hair,” said Daryl.
The first exchange for both girls has left each wanting to experience more places in the future, including Brazil for Astrid.
The pair left for France together at the end of July.