Chenango Valley has had an exchange program since 1993 with a school, la Borde Basse, in Castres, France. Castres is located in the southwest of France and is a city of about the same size as Binghamton. The exchange program is a direct exchange during which the French students visit Chenango Valley for two weeks and stay in the homes of American host students. The Chenango Valley students visit France for two weeks and stay with the same student who they hosted.
The exchange program exposes Chenango Valley students to another culture and to new ideas. It is a learning experience that provides rapid growth not only of language skills but skills from a wide range of areas. Students attend and participate in classes while visiting France.
The trip to France includes two nights in Paris with sightseeing around the city. The remainder of the time is spent in Castres with field trips around the south of France.
While the French students visit Chenango Valley, they also attend class and take field trips to Ithaca, Niagra Falls and other places of interest.
The exchange usually happens every other year with the French students visiting Chenango Valley for two weeks in October and/or November, and the Chenango Valley students going to France during March and/or April.
The cost is based on the cost of airfare and hotel rates. The price includes transportation to a New York City area airport, flights to and from France, two nights in a hotel in Paris, some sightseeing, and a train trip across France. The price does not include some meals, sightseeing, and spending money -- amounts which are are determined within each family.
Students who are studying French and are in ninth through 11th grades may apply for the French exchange program. Students must not be failing any classes, must demonstrate good school citizenship with no record of behavior problems, must demonstrate self-reliance and adaptability in new situations, and must be willing to accept the challenge of new experiences. The application procedure includes the application form, a letter of recommendation, review of academic records, and interviews. Acceptance into the program takes place six months to a year before the start of a new exchange.