Punahou Welcomes French Exchange Students

Earlier this semester, Punahou School hosted 24 10th-grade students from Lycée Sainte Marie du Port in Olonne-sur-Mer, France, as part of a cultural exchange and homestay program. Facilitated by the Wo International Center and the French Language Department at Punahou, the program offered a meaningful opportunity for students from both institutions to engage with different cultures.

During their stay, the visiting students attended classes alongside their Punahou hosts and completed community-based research projects. After school, they experienced life in Hawaiʻi through activities with their host families, which included sharing home life and gaining insights into Hawaiian and French cultures.

Sasha Pager ’26 shared her excitement about the exchange: “It was super fun to learn about life in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, and to share what life is like here in Honolulu and at Punahou.” Maya Gaudiano ’26 similarly enjoyed including her guest in local, Punahou traditions like the Sophomore Lu’au, and, in turn, learning to make crêpes.

Gaudiano added, “I loved being able to practice my French and help my host student learn English.” Shen Kellogg ’25 also appreciated the language practice the exchange provided: “I was able to practice speaking French with them and learned new words and phrases.”

Program organizers, Academy French teachers Claire Ligner and James Robb, along with Assistant Director of the Wo International Center Tyler Fujita, are grateful to the many Punahou families who opened their homes to the visiting students and hope to continue the partnership with Lycée Sainte Marie du Port into the future.

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