Mathilde loved America so much that she did not want to leave.
Over April break, Duxbury High School french students visited Lyon, France in an exchange program that called for those they visited to follow them back to Duxbury a few weeks later. One of these students was Mathilde C. It was not her first time visiting America, she had been to the west coast of California and to New York. It was, however, her first time in Massachusetts and she was loving it.
The biggest difference between France and America was all the freedom we have. It is like a dream, she said. We can drive at sixteen years of age, whereas they have to wait until they are eighteen. Their school starts at eight o’clock in the morning and ends at four-thirty in the evening. There are no sports and hardly any free time between the three hours of homework and time for sleep. In Mathilde’s school students cannot wear shorts, short dresses, or flip-flops like we are allowed to. She was amazed with how relaxed everyone was with school and even how casual we are with our teachers.
She was also very surprised by all the ice cream shops we had and how you could buy it practically everywhere. In France, you had to travel the equivalent to Boston to go to an ice cream shop. In the two weeks, she had visited Sweet Frog and Pinkberry multiple times, unlike anything she would do in France. The toppings were surprising as well, as where she comes from, they do not put any type of toppings on ice cream.The most surprising thing, however, was the pledge of allegiance. Watching everyone stand and recite the same words at the same time to a flag was shocking.
These two weeks had been amazing, she said. She wants to go to university to become a neurologist or a surgeon and then move to America. She also truly enjoyed Duxbury and the people she met here. She appreciated how nice and understanding everyone was, and especially how people would talk slower and take the time to make sure she understood what she was saying. Duxbury beach was also one of her favorite places here. She loves America and was sad to go.