Twelve Hunters Hill students will have the opportunity of a lifetime to study in Paris this year.
The students will stay in the beautiful municipality of Le Vesinet as part of the annual Hunters Hill Le Vesinet Student Exchange Program which was established more than a 25 years ago to celebrate the Friendship Agreement between the Hunters Hill Municipality and the township of Le Vesinet.
Wendy Benrimoj from the exchange program said the students will live as the guest of French families in Le Vesinet and will have an opportunity to explore the beautiful French capital.
“They will enjoy Christmas in Paris, go on excursions to famous places, experience the delights of French food and learn more about French culture,” Ms Benrimoj said.
“Most importantly, they will have an opportunity to continue to learn the French language, which is why students currently studying French will be the students selected to go to Le Vesinet.”
Hunters Hill and Le Vesinet share a number of striking similarities and both are recognised as garden municipalities with beautiful homes, churches and places of significant heritage.
“Another reason why the two municipalities are similar is because Le Vesinet was a hunting ground for King Louis the Fourteenth so it has preserved and enhanced its parklands just as Hunters Hill has preserved and enhanced its own parks,” she said.
“Located just outside Paris, it is a beautiful and charming place to stay and study.”
As well as the Friendship Agreement, Hunters Hill has a French heritage which is reflected in many street names while French migrants served on the first Hunters Hill council.
A significant contribution was made to Hunters Hill by the French Marist Order who arrived in the mid 19th Century.
The Holy Name of Mary Church in Hunters Hill features many plaques, graves and art from this period and the Catholic Church in Woolwich is dedicated to Saint Peter Chanel, a French martyr recognised as the Patron Saint of Oceania.
The Hunters Hill Town Hall flies the French flag on important national days and most recently raised the famous “tricolour” as a gesture of support and solidarity with the French people who have suffered terrorism related tragedies.
“French is still taught at the historic Hunters Hill Public School in Alexandra Street and the French influence in Hunters Hill is also reflected in the architecture of some of our historic buildings and homes.
“Our unique Friendship Agreement truly reflects the bonds of similarity, heritage and friendship between us.”
For Wendy Benrimoj, the student exchange initiative also recalls fond childhood memories.
“When I was 17 I went on an exchange to the town next to Le Vesinet and go to experience the lifestyle and got to experience the close and caring traditions of French families,” she said.
“Living in Paris is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Ms Benrimoj said that because this year’s student exchange is being operated by a voluntary organisation the only cost to local families will be a return airfare and approximately $700 to cover the expense of the many excursions through Paris.
“Selected students need to be between the ages of 14 to 16 and need to be studying French and while preference will be given to students who live or go to school in Hunters Hill, students outside our municipality will also be considered.”
Students from LeVesinet will travel to Sydney next year and will stay with Hunters Hill families.
For further details contact Wendy at [email protected] or visit the website www.huntershill-levesinet.org.au
Wendy Benrimoj invites Hunters Hill students to study French in the beautiful Le Vesinet municipality, which has a Friendship Agreement with Hunters Hill. Wendy is pictured with the tricolour outside Hunters Hill Town Hall. Fotografie d’ TWT.