Calling All 1966 Alumni!
If you were a student in 1966 with AIFS in Vichy, France, it’s time for a reunion!
Recently, Jon Kline, a former AIFS student abroad, reached out to see if we could help him reconnect with his classmates from 1966 in Vichy, France. It has been fifty years since the summer of ’66, when Jon and other students from around the U.S. travelled to France to study abroad. Jon wants to reunite with as many alumni of AIFS Vichy 1966 as he can find, perhaps to arrange a 50th reunion of sorts (virtually via social media — or in person if possible).
Jon remembers student groups from around the country that were part of AIFS Vichy 1966, including Palm Springs, Los Angeles and the Bay Area in California; Walla Walla, Washington; Detroit, Michigan (with 2 nuns as chaperones) and a New Jersey group. Each group was chaperoned (typically by high school French teachers), and they gathered together in New York City before flying to London, England.
After a couple of days of sightseeing in London, they travelled by bus to Stonehenge, by ferry from Southampton, England to Le Havre, France and then another bus ride for 2-3 days driving through chateaux country to Vichy. Students attended Lycée Presles, which was a boarding school for high school students at the time. Jon remembers an open dormitory and cafeteria-style food with delicious baked goods and jams for breakfast, good lunches and hit or miss dinners.
Students enjoyed excursions every weekend and studied French in three levels. Among many adventures, Jon recalls a trip to Geneva and Mt. Blanc, seeing the Tour de France and travelling on TPN chartered buses (Tout Pour Nous). Each day classes included an hour of translation followed by two hours of vocab and grammar or literature and history. A big graduation ceremony was held in town at the end of the program.
The program wrapped up with four days of sightseeing in Paris, France. Everyone flew back from Paris to New York before heading home after an amazing adventure together. Jon reflects that as sixteen- and seventeen-year-old high school students, they were treated as young adults. Although chaperoned, they had a lot of independence, and Jon came back feeling more prepared to live in a bigger world.
If you were part of AIFS Vichy 1966, please leave a comment, reach out via social media, or email AIFS to get connected, using #AIFSVichy1966.