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9 Thoughts the French Exchange Students Have About Us

Jenny White, Culture and Entertainment Department Writer

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Have you ever seen a dog’s head snap up the moment it sees a squirrel, its nose twitching as it stares intently? That image is exactly what came to mind when the French exchange students, boys included, roamed the halls of St. Mary’s Academy this last October. All the SMA students were very curious about our visitors, so I decided to collect some thoughts from our French friends on their experience of American culture. In June, the St. Mary’s group, myself included, traveled to Compiegne, a small town forty-five minutes north of Paris, and by the end of the first week, we’d all become good friends. The first time we said goodbye only two weeks later, we were tearful, but we knew we’d all see each other again in just a few short months to continue our cultural exchange.

When the French students arrived, we all had our expectations, our nerves, our excitement, and our collective love of travel and adventure, so getting our exchange students settled went pretty quickly. The entire two weeks that they were here, they learned about our American lives and we continued to deepen our understandings of French culture, all the while improving our speaking skills. When we did finally say goodbye, for the second time, it was much more emotional and very genuine. Although we said goodbye, many of us have kept in good touch with our French friends, continuing to cultivate our mutual exchange of culture. In a moment of curiosity, I thought I’d look into some of the lasting impressions the exchange created, so I reached out to three French students: Maxence, Axel, and Louise.

 Louise


Axel

Maxence

 

Here are their responses.

 

 

Who is your favorite American music artist?

Axel: Macklemore

Maxence: Foo Fighters, Kings Of Leon, Linkin Park and Yelawolf. (Sorry but I just can’t answer one band 😅)

Louise: Beyoncé

 

 

What do you think of the Kardashians and do you hear about them in France?

Louise: The Kardashians are superficial people. Furthermore, they only live the way they do to show off. In France we talk about all of them but mostly about Kylie Jenner.

Maxence: I don’t know much about the Kardashians but I don’t like plastic surgery when it’s too much and terrible!! Yes some people speak about the Kardashians in France but when anyone asks me about them my answer is “no comment.”

 

 

How are American teens different in how they interact with each other?

Axel: American teens are nice and I think they help each other more.

Maxence: Maybe less shy when it comes to sing in front of people and other things like that.

Louise: American teens are open-minded, nice, and they are welcoming. Americans teenagers accept other people’s style even if it is different from themselves.

 

 

How would you say American media (news, social media, film/tv) affects teen culture in France?

Maxence: I think that especially in cinema and music America has a big influence on French teens. And every French teen uses Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter etc… all the American social media.

 

 

What are some of your favorite American tv shows that you watch in France?

All: 13 Reasons Why, Pretty Little Liars, crime shows.

 

 

How do you wish France was like America or Portland?

 

Maxence: I wish France was more open minded as Portland. I think it is very cool to have posters saying « all races, sexual orientation etc… are accepted if you’re not ok with that, go away. » I wish we had that too in France, especially in schools.

 

 

What is a distinct difference between American teens and French teens?

Axel: Parties in France don’t always have alcohol and they finish very early. American parties seem more fun.

Louise: The biggest difference between American teens and French teens is that American teens can drive and work.

 

 

What American food is most strange to the French?

Axel and Maxence: Peanut Butter

Louise: Salt & Straw Ice Cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

What do you like about American food and what do you dislike?

Maxence: I like hamburger and all junk food. But I don’t like it when it is too salty or too sugary or too much food.

Axel: I love american food because you have every kind of food you could possibly want.

Louise: I love lucky charms. There are more options in the United States.

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