Marisa, outbound to France
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Exchange is really hard. Period. People laugh in your face every day. A lot of people are mean. Some people will just mock you over and over again and never help you. What I mean is that the french stereotype is true for like half the people. A lot of my friends and especially the ones at school are super nice and helpful and will have the occasional laugh which doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the man, who I won't name, who NEVER corrects me and just continues to laugh. It's been two months dude. Please just tell me how to say 'pardon' correctly. He's not the only one though. I was really hoping that the stereotype of French people being snobby about their language or in general wasn't true but it is at least half the time. That being said, slightly snobby people can still be incredibly nice once they finally accept you into there lives.
My second complaint is school. When people ask me how it is, I say fine but it's not. It sucks and apparently this is a universal thing for exchange students. It's incredibly long and incredibly boring. My English teacher is well "not the nicest" (not my english lit teacher b/c she's British and nice). And some other teachers are "not the nicest" too and have no respect for the students. Thank goodness the art teacher is nice though she's the saving grace to that whole school, that and my French as a second language teacher (and also my second host mom when I change families in January), and my friends. Making friends ain't easy either. All the kids know me because I'm the only exchange student but that doesn't mean they all want to talk to me. I'm also in a grade below me because the grade I was supposed to be in would have been "boring" for me. Everyone is 2 years younger than me and it's hard to relate or connect to them because of that and some times I wish they put me in the grade I belong in because school will be boring either way but at least I can relate to people my age. I do however have a select few close friends who mean so much to me because I don't know what I'd do without them. And although school is boring the 2 hour lunch makes it easier and we go on a lot of field trips. I've visited an art museum in a castle twice and gone to watch movies in town to participate in the film festival twice. Basically I just want you to know that even though I complained and told you a bunch of negative stuff there's a bunch of positive and amazing stuff that I'm leaving out. There's so many amazing things that make these teeny complaints look like nothing but if I wrote them all down you'd be bored to death. But I do have two more teeny complaints to add: Homesickness is a real thing!!! and also host families can be a challenge too when there's a language barrier and can't see eye to eye with you. But I still love them to death; my real family and my host!
To finish off, I knew exchange was not gonna be glamorous but that doesn't stop it from being amazing. I wanted to share with you my lows and my highs so you can really see my journey and not just one side of it! If you read this whole thing, thank you! It means a lot to know someone's listening! :)
Posted on Tue, November 15, 2016
by Terri Wescott