Reflecting on their summer vacation with The Bee recently, Newtown High School rising senior Jordan Trager and rising junior Kristina Tollkuci both smiled when describing what made this summer special for them.
After participating in a study tour to France last April through the Newtown International Center for Education (NICE), both Jordan and Kristina said they developed strong friendships with the French students they met. NICE has a sister school in Le Vésinet, a suburb 20 minutes west of Paris. When in France, Jordan said he connected with Nicolas Lemaire and Antoine Nguyen.
“They are really good friends,” said Jordan, after explaining it felt like Nicolas and Antoine were his best friends from the start.
A visiting group of French students also visited Newtown through NICE near the end of last March, and Jordan said the students loved coming to Newtown.
That experience, and the friendships formed through the following visit to France by Newtown students, helped convince some of the French students to return for a summer stay in Newtown from the end of June until July 17.
While in Newtown, Jordan and Kristina said they brought them to New York twice, Jennings Beach in Fairfield to view Fourth of July fireworks, Candlewood Lake to go wake boarding, and Treadwell Park to go swimming.
Kristina and Jordan also said they have been invited to visit their new friends in France at some point in the future.
Both students said they will continue to be involved with NICE throughout the next school year, and they said they hope NICE’s French program expands.
“You really have to experience it for yourself,” said Jordan.