Holiday Journeys

Harrison W. is currently a junior at SYA France and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. He comes to SYA from Phillips Academy in Massachusetts.

Holiday break and the month of December had some of the most amazing highs of SYA thus far. From the beginning of the month, the Villa Alvarez underwent a complete transformation. From decorations drawn across the banister, to the common room chock full of various trinkets and lights across the walls, and a sapin de Noël (Christmas tree) as the crown jewel, holiday spirit was in full swing.  

Festive activities commenced both in SYA and in our surrounding Rennes. Our spirit committee most graciously planned a movie afternoon with a showing of the holiday classic, ​Elf. Just at the end of the term on the eve of holiday break, students, host families, and American families alike were treated to a student talent show. This evening united the various cohorts that compose the 2018-2019 SYA France community. Featuring students, faculty, and host family members, the spectacle truly served as a harbinger for good cheer and some well-deserved rest.

For me personally, I had the wonderful chance to depart to the Alps the very first morning of break. I stayed in a picturesque, alpine chalet with my extended host family at the resort of Valmorel. I had dynamic exchanges with cousins, uncles, and grandparents, while enjoying bountiful cheese offerings and gourmet Savoyard specialties.  

Finally, the last adventure of my break was a five day trip to Monte Carlo and Madrid with an American friend at SYA Italy. A brief depart from the Breton rain did me tremendously well. This trip allowed me to share and catch up with a friend, upon exploration of different holiday traditions in other areas of Europe at the same time. 

The great positives I have touched upon hopefully present some of the excitement SYA has to offer! Nonetheless, the holidays can also present various points of adversity. Longing for the solace of home and American traditions can at times be challenging, thus students must definitely lean on their support networks and persist in the wake of momentary difficulty. It is truly short-lived! With the presence of general good cheer and perseverance, my personal experience found this period one of the most rewarding and exciting of SYA yet. Bonne année to all!

  • Campus Reporters
  • SYA France
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