Impressions from the Trip

published in the " Bulletin de l'Association des Parents d'Éleves
du Lycée Pasteur nº3 Sao Paulo - Novembre 1998"

Original in French

The students

This trip taught us a lot of things. America is a very different country from Brazil. People have a different behaviour and a different lifestyle. Everything is well organized, everything has its own place. This is the first time I have visited so many different cities in fifteen days.
(Céline Mérand )

I have simply LOVED this trip...all the 9th graders have become much more united during and after the trip....I knew everyone but not that well. How can I explain? We have now become much closer and this continues at school. I also think I will never see teachers like before. I have got to know them and they got to know us, and during the trip, I saw them as people and not as teachers...(Juliana Vignol)

Going down the Grand Canyon has been the most incredible experience in my whole life. You must be fit and feel like going down the 10 km and climbing back again...the more than a 1000 metre elevation....(Edgard Samaha)

People caught my attention. They are different, fatter. We cannot make noise after 10 pm. In the USA people use many coins, the roads are straight and well indicated. In the national parks there are many rules to respect. (Raphael Antonini)

What impressed me a lot is the size: everything is "big"...the sodas, the dishes, the ice-cream cones. People eat the whole time. I think this is why they are so fat...(Camille Six)

Going down the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyone was a super experience. Only for the view it is already impressing and even more so when you go down...(Eloise Morhange)

This trip to the USA has pleased me a lot because I was made to speak English, but not as we do in class: in class if I make a mistake my teacher corrects me. However, in the USA nobody understood what I wanted to say. Therefore we had to make an effort to speak correctly because Mrs Dieu was not next to us all the time to correct us and help. At the beginning it was difficult but then after some days I got used to speaking English, and sometimes instead of speaking Portuguese to my friends I would say some words in English!(Pedro Angelini)

Our accomodation was perfect. All the hotels were excellent. For me this trip could not be better. The teachers were very enthusiastic and the students even more so.(Benny Chalom)

To visit the place we study is ten times better and we learn much more than by reading about it in a book... it's a more complete experience and we can lean and have fun at the same time... (Raphael Carrondo)

I just loved the parks like Sea World...I had never imagined I would be able one day to touch a shark or see a dolphin so close...and travelling with the schoo, with my friends...was even better. (Fanny Dubrule)

Once we were at the restaurant and one of the students asked for a coca- cola and the waitress asked "what size?" and he answered "yes, without ice..." (Tatiana Angelini)

I do not remember now what new words I have learnt but I know that I have learnt how to speak more quickly and understand what people said.
(Caroline Negrin)

...what I have learnt is that cultures are very different and we must respect them in no matter what situation...(Ana Emília Cruz)

Las Vegas is a city in Nevada which earns around 6 billion dollars per year on two main activities: the games in the casinos and tourism. These two activities depend on the big casino-hotels like the "Caesar Palace", the "Mirage". The sight from the top of the Stratosphere Tower (3oo metres) is breathtaking! (Julio Muller)

We have also learnt something which does not seem very obvious: live together as a group. Specially in a group of 43 students! We had to respect the rights and other colleagues freedoms and this is not always easy. Respecting the timetables is even worse! This trip was much more than a common trip. It represented a window to another world, a different vision of life. It was an animated open book, which we devoured with a lot of curiosity and interest.(Marianne Rodstein)

The Teachers

Travelling widens the horizons and enriches the long as the young people who travel remain open and receptive and do not isolate themselves in their petty habits and prejudice.

Our greatest challenge was to foster this opening, this adaptation to a new environment and a new language. To make them acknowledge and better understand the differences so as to respect them.
During the first days some shocks and frictions were inevitable. The timetable, the noise, the food, how to speak to people, how to behave, manners...little by little our students understood that they could not impose their rhythm and their ways on their hosts and colleagues...

The ears were also getting used to the language. The challenge: what to eat/buy - how much to spend - how to ask and verify the change, faced them everyday.

The initial anguish of making oneself understood and understanding turned into wild laughter when they realized that the question the waitress asked " French, Italian?" was not to be answered by " No, I'm Brazilian" but by the choice of the salad sauce...

Little by little the students loosened up and took initiative. How to place a call without spending too much " how can I place a collect call?" or "Could you wake me up at 6:30 tomorrow, please..?"… after having been howled at for having overslept and being late for the bus in the morning.

At Seaworld they asked questions and listened to the explanation of a specialist in sharks, dolphins and learn t what it takes to train animals for the shows. In San Francisco, their e-pals were waiting for them at Pier 39 ...which was as crowded as our Viaduto do Cha. At Lowell School the students followed their keypals and attended different classes for two hours... More than ever before politness forms were practised: Please, can I have….?; Excuse me, but could you tell me where…; Sorry, I don't understand; …that's pretty good…it's great!!!

Yesss…although it was unpredictable…in the end it was right and I hope they've had the time of their lives!
Barbara Dieu (English teacher and project manager)

For approximately 15 days...everything went right! I believe this was the anguish of the teachers and the parents...I lost count of how many times we counted up students, passports, students...However without this attention to detail at every moment, would we have been able to accomplish all we did?

From going down the Bright Angel Trail to the Exploratorium, from Sea World to Monterey, from walking around and discovering the city and all kinds of observations …not for one minute did we get distracted. The result is highly positive even if we cannot quantify it. We have learnt how to better know our students and the students have learnt how to see their teachers in a different light. They left their shells. Let's hope that they adopt St Exupery's words: " My friend, if you are different from me, far from doing me harm, you enrich me".
Mathieu Beretti (History and Geography teacher) and Alessandra Stona (Biology teacher)

USA Connection was a true pedagogical, cultural and even a sports experience. During the trip, the pieces of the puzzle were quickly put together thanks to the students who gradually learnt how to live in a group, and thanks to the very special skills of the 5 accompanying teachers. Everyone understood very quickly what their role was. I knew that the American West offered incredible resources and treasures in geography, geology, natural sciences and culture, but I would have never thought that this could be so well integrated in the framework of a school field trip. These 15 days were very intense and a milestone for the 9th graders, who are at an age when the living experience has a very particular dimension. When people say that travelling forms youth, it's even more than that. Travelling opens their minds and allows them to exerce tolerance. This is something to be done again and every student should go through it. Christophe Gally (Physics teacher and photographer)

15 floppy disks, 500 photos, 85 e-mails, full inboxes… never ending dowloading and uploading, blank photos, black photos, too light, too dark , too big...texts that were be found again...But also the pleasure of participating in this wonderful project and being able to make other people share this trip through the Internet. Dominique Mores (Physics teacher and webmaster)

Visit our site at and our exhibition which will take place at the Lycée during the second week of December.