September 18, 2021

World Language Department


Explore the world... while learning a language!

In the last few years, HHS students have traveled with WLC Department Programs to Germany, France, Martinique, Québec, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

Compas de Nicaragua

Every couple of years, Hartford School district hosts a troupe of dancers from Nicaragua through a service learning group called Compas.  In the past, HSD has participated in service learning with this group and may continue to do so in the future.  
During this visit, district families have had the opportunity to host dancers and show off our Vermont culture.  Activities have included dinners, hikes, sporting events, and exploration in WRJ.  Each year the troupe comes, students have made connections and experienced different aspects of this cultural partnership.  It is always an exciting opportunity to be the Upper Valley hub for our Nicaraguan visitors. The host family opportunities are rich with culture and language for both students and visitors.  

Spanish classes study a variety of cultural topics, including food and cooking.  It is not unusual to sample cuisine such as tres leches cake, tajadas, torrejas, or a pot-luck of traditional dishes prepared by classmates during a cooking unit.  Sra. often prepares more challenging traditional recipes such as the Rosca de Reyes for Three Kings Day or Pan de Muertos for Day of the Dead celebrations to share with students.  

Spanish food collage


La France (2018 & 2015) et la Martinique (2017)

During April break 2019, French teacher Scott Tarbox took his students to France.  This one of several trips he has taken with his students.

France 2019

IMG_0731.JPGDuring Spring break 2019, a group of students with chaperones Mr. Tarbox and Dr. Brzozowski, traveled to France through the Globalworks Student Travel organization.  We arrived in Paris and immediately after leaving the airport, started touring the city.   We spent two nights at a international youth hostel in the middle of Paris, visiting the Louvre, Montparnasse, the Eiffel Tower, and ate dinner at a couple of famous French restaurants.  One of our students recorded that we walked about 12 miles each day while still giving us time to visit many cool Parisian landmarks!    

After Paris, we went directly to Carcassonne in the south of France where students stayed with host families to practice their French and learn about the culture.  During the days we were there, our group toured the fortified city of Carcassonne, participated in activities at a youth center, wandered through the small villages in the region, and helped out on a restoration project.  We also hiked to several of the Cathar castles built in the 12th century and learned about their way of life.  Many tourist destinations also have a bookstore, so you can always learn more about the historic sites you’ve visited.

Some of the passing comments I heard included:  “I didn’t realize I knew so much French until I had to talk with my host family!”  and “How can I stay here longer?  France is awesome!”   The trip was an excellent way to reward students for all their hard work while still having fun.  


Martinique 2017

French culture in the Carribean: Martinique is a small island close to South America, in which locals speak both French and Martinican Creole.  We left from Montreal and arrived several hours later in the capital of Fort-de-France.  We learned the history of Martinique from our tour director and from those working in local museums.  (There was even a museum dedicated to the many different varieties of banana trees on a large farm.)

We listened to some local music on the radio while working on a small organic form, toured the city market, visited a leatherback turtle nesting site, and spent time at a local high school.  We discussed in French the differences between Vermont and Martinique, hobbies, and things to do in the area.  We also spent several days visiting other small villages and cities throughout the island and each night eating fresh seafood and regional specialties.  

Students stayed on a cliffside resort in a surfing town with a perfect view of the ocean in the evening.  Mornings included drives to cultural landmarks after a typical French breakfast of chocolate croissants, yogurt, fruit, and coffee.   Students learned the history of Martinique’s colonial past and how sugar was traditionally made from the large stalks that are actually giant blades of grass.  With so much to do, the week really flew by.

Spanish Immersion & Service Learning Project

Through volunteer work in Ecuador in 2018, Peru in 2016, Nicaragua in 2014, and the Dominican Republic in 2012 we use our Spanish skills to meet new people and learn about other communities in Latin America.  Students who continue with Spanish through the advanced-level courses have the opportunity to participate in our project every two years.  Stay tuned and get your Spanish ready for our next adventure!!

To learn more about the Spanish Immersion and Service Learning Project, please visit our page here.

2014 Trip to Germany

HHS and JSS students walk along the Philosophenweg in Heidelberg.

Our partner school in Germany is the Frankenwald Gymnasium, located in the town of Kronach, in northern Bavaria.

We look forward to continuing our exchange once the pandemic is over!

In year's past, we have partnered with schools in Trier (Max Planck Gymnasium) and Heidelberg (Julius Springer Schule).  Groups of students travel from Germany to Hartford, and vice-versa.  Students stay with host families to experience the daily life of the host community.  Trips last approximately two weeks and include community service projects in both countries.  Projects have included: working at the Listen Center in WRJ; doing trail work and river restoration; partnering with elementary school students, and refugees; and the community food shelf in Kronach.

To learn more about the German Exchange Program, please visit our page.


Travel and Hosting Programs
World Language Department News

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HHS and JSS students walk along the Philosophenweg in Heidelberg.
HHS and JSS students walk along the Philosophenweg in Heidelberg.

HHS students work at a food shelf in Kronach Germany
HHS students work at a food shelf in Kronach, Germany

JSS and HHS students collaborate on a project
JSS and HHS students collaborate on a project.

FWG and HHS students eat dinner together
FWG and HHS students eat dinner together