Q: Is school different in France?
A: Yes, school is quite different in France. It is much more formal & we have less of a connection with teachers. I have many ideas and opinions when it comes to the difference in the school systems. I will have to save them for another time to save space for other questions.
Q: Are you participating in an exchange, or just on a vacation?
A: I am participating in an exchange through OSEF. I had a student from France live with me and attended school in Canada, and now I am doing the same with her here in France.
Q: Have you experienced cultural shock yet?
A: Yes, I have been shocked by a few things, sometimes in shock because something's amazing, but other times because of the opposite as well. I was shocked when
Q: How long have you been/going to be there?
A: My exchange is about 12 weeks, (almost 3 months). I have been here for 9 weeks, and I have about two and a half weeks left before I return back home to Canada.
Q: Is there more smoking in France?
A: Yes, but I find that this is the case with most of Europe. I think that smoking is much more judged, and frowned upon in North America. The smell of smoke fills most buildings, and I walk past a group of moms every day on my way to school, who are chatting around their strollers with their babies or young children in them, and a cigarette in their hands. Every one of them. It is much more normal here than it is at home.
Q: Do you have a school uniform?
A: No, I have lucked out on that one.
Q: Is your school all French? or is there English too?
A: My school is all French, yes. However, at school, they learn many languages, such as Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, and English. English is obligatory so everyone knows a little bit, but it's not equivalent to our "French Immersion" here. Like us and our French Immersion programs, some students understand and speak better than others.
Q: Did you have to step out of your comfort zone for food?
A: Yes! And it's one of the best things I've ever done for myself! I am a picky eater, and an over-thinker even when it comes to food. I had to stop freaking out over how old the cheese was and just eat it. I am now obsessed with cheese and will eat it any chance I get!
Q: Do you prefer school In France or school in Canada?
A: I prefer my school in Canada. I loved having the experience to attend school in France, but I will be happy to be back at SSHS.
Q: Where are you living in France?
A: I am living in Dieppe. It is beautiful and right on the coast! The beach is within walking distance.
Q: Do you have a hard time understanding teachers and kids at school?
A: Sometimes I have a hard time understanding certain teachers who have accents from other places (my math teacher is Arabian) but I quickly caught on. Also, sometimes kids talk super fast and kids often say words backwards (its a style of slang) and I have to ask them to repeat it. Overall, my French was stronger than I expected and I understand most.
Q: Are the houses different?
A: The architecture, layout and style of houses are much different here in France and most of that is because of the age and style of when they were made. I find that there is more character in the houses here, and they tell their story. One of the biggest differences that I have found with the inside of houses is that Bathrooms are just that - The room where you bathe. The toilet is in a different room, sometimes not even on the same floor.
Q: Is it hard having to speak your second language with your family?
A: I am not struggling too much with my language, no. However, that's thanks to the number of times I've been forced to practice my second language outside of school. Whenever we are in French communities, my mom makes us practice with French people. I also practice during the summer when I'm working at the Chocolatier because we see tourists from all over- some of them are French.
Q: What are the differences between Canadian French and the French there?
A: Obviously the accent is different, but I find that Canadian French is more literally translated from English. They are both the same language, just evolved differently.
Q: What are your favourite foods there?
A: I am OBSESSED with Speculoos spread. It's similar to peanut butter (the idea of it) but its worse for your health... It's a spread made out of Speculoos, a cookie a lot like a spice cookie or a cinnamon cookie, (if that's a thing).
Q: What's your favourite place that you've visited?
A: I loved almost every place that I've been, but two of my favourites in France were Saint-Malo and Veules-Les-Roses, but we also went to Brugges in Belgium and that was amazing as well.
Q: Have you experienced culture shock yet?
A: For sure! But in a positive way. When you're submerged into a totally different environment than you're used to, of course, you're in shock. However, I have to say, it's one of my favourite feelings ever.