COCKTAIL MONT BLANC
My overall experience in France was great because I got to feel what it is like in a totally new culture with very different foods and people. I enjoyed going to "exotic" places, visiting the Eiffel tower and Notre-Dame, discovering the French Alps! My French definitely improved because almost everybody there was French! When I come back next year, I will try another camp and explore another region! VSF is a GREAT PROGRAM, thank you!
Going to France is one thing, but hiking in the French Alps is a complete other adventure. For the past three summers I've been coming to France with the VSF organization, I also came two other times with my school, this was the fifth time. I thought I knew France pretty well and could fend for myself and survive in this familiar "second-home". People would ask: "have you been to the Alps?" "Yeah sure" I'd say. But you don't know the Alps until you've hiked them. and then you know if you are actually everything that you thought you were. For me all that mattered was one word and one word alone "summit". That one word is what kept me going on and on; up further and further. On the last day that Summit made it all worth while, looking down into the evergreen valley not even the mid summer day's French rain could ruin that moment. Seeing the shack where we stayed the night before some 2000 feet below I couldn't help but yell out with Joy! Down hill from here, all the way.This was a summer of rafting on raging rivers bushwhacking on the high mountains of France and hiking through storms. A summer of laughs, games cards and sleeping in tents with great friends, water and more water if it comes from the sky or the river, a summer of a lot of walking. But I learned a new word in French this summer. "solidarité". Solidarity, it's what kept us all together, if we didn't work as a team anything could have worked. No one to cook the food since the dishes off in a cool Mountain steam. No one to help each other up after slipping in the mud (which everyone at one point or another inevitably). Solidarity was the word of the summer for me, and if I had to choose one thing that this camp taught me, that would be it: how to help and be there for others, to work as a team (if I had to choose a second it would be how to got buff. Hike). To conclude this short tale I have to say that I got more than I bargained for, not only was it a great experience "biking and hiking in the Alps" (that just says it all). But I also improved my French immensely and learned lessons about life. Trust me there's nothing quite like it.
My best experience was when I was hiking on Mont-Blanc. We were on a narrow path with a cliff on one side and a steep hill on the other. At some point, it even rained a little bit, but we kept on going anyway and finished the hike. That was a very exhilarating and fun experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. The food at Le Cirque camp was excellent, even though I am a picky eater, I still ate most of the food, and everyone else loved it too. My French improved a great deal because if you are in a totally different environment that home, and everyone is speaking a different language, you don't have a choice, you have to learn and understand. My overall experience was very fun, and I would definitely do it again.