“I will miss America, I’ll never forget all the amazing people I met here and all the memories I made,” said Tasnime, a 15-year-old French exchange student. Tasnime comes from a small town, 4 hours outside of Paris,called Lyon and thanks to an exchange program affiliated with Duxbury High School, she and 14 other classmates were able to visit [DHS]. Despite the language barrier we were able to connect and get to know each other. Tasnime is staying with Geraldine C., a junior here at DHS, and said that she will always be thankful for all the support Geraldine’s family has given her.
The first major difference was education. The average school day in France is 8 hours long and is filled with strict academic classes. Rather than freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year there is 2de, 1ere and term. Tasnime said that schooling here is very different, much more relaxed but Duxbury still manages to be a very intelligent town. She also said “Students have a much closer relationship with their teachers than we do in France. Commonly we do not form any type of personal relationship with our teachers, but here in Duxbury there is more of a connection and a loving feeling.”
High school in France is 3 years long, and is commonly followed by college. Students in France are not allowed to take music, or electives. Classes are separated into three categories, sciences, economics and social sciences and literature. Students take these classes to better prepare for the Baccalauréat. The Baccalauréat is test taken before college, and is the equivalent of the American SATs or ACTs.
Life here in America is also different from France because of the independence we have. Tasnime said that in America kids have much more freedom than they do in France. She marvels at the legal driving age here, which is two years younger than that of France. Although she cannot yet drive, she does not seem to mind much. “There are buses that stop in my town that can you bring you wherever you want to go.” Duxbury’s only form of public transportation is the Gatra.
Something she does not envy so much about America is the larger food portions. “There are much more fast food restaurants here,” Tasnime said. “But no one [in Duxbury] seems too big.” Tasnime said that the amount of food here in one portion is double the size of that in France.
While in Duxbury the exchange students were able to do many fun activities including going to the beach, Six Flags and Duxbury Idol. Tasmine was also able to attend orchestra class, and said “I enjoyed orchestra class very much because in France I am unable to take music in school.”
When speaking to Tasnime the day before she left she said “While being here in America I was able to realize how lucky I was to come and experience what I did.” She said that she will miss America and hopes to come back as soon as possible.