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Is a school year in France for foreign teenagers a good idea?

A local newspaper shares the advantages of a school year in France for foreign teenagers

During this year, three teenagers from Thailand and Turkey decided to live a new language experience in Angoulême (France). Like their French classmates, they are attending classes in a French high school. On the occasion of their arrival, a local newspaper asked them about their school integration and their new life in France.

3 foreign teenagers share their impressions about their schooling abroad

A linguistic experience is never trivial. For a foreign teenager, it can change lots of things in a personal and professional way. The advantages are obviously linguistic, but not only. We collected their impressions about schooling in France and the advantages in choosing to study abroad.

A new culture to learn for an asian student Jutarat Rungchiwarak, Thailand

“The weather here is cold and warm everyday” laughed Jutarah, an 18 years old girl who comes from North-East Thailand. When she was fourteen, she fell in love with France after she spent fifteen days in Brest (Brittany). “I like traditional cultures and I want to learn another language” replies the young girl.” She is in 11th grade at Sainte-Marthe high school in Angoulême city. Here there is neither bagad*, nor typical headdress from Brittany but she already likes the city and her host family. “They have a four years old daughter. Her name is Flora and she’s like my little sister. When I don’t understand something, my family looks for the translation on internet. This evening, we’re going to the swimming pool. On weekends we go to the restaurant. I love eating! Especially seafood-pasta. I eat too much everyday.” smiled Jutarat, choosing her words carefully. She has been learning French by herself for two years. She can also cook and she wanted to share to her hosts a traditional Thai recipe from her grandmother: the pad-thai. “There were too many spices for Flora”. The first step in high school wasn’t so easy for this reserved girl. “My friends don’t eat everyday at the canteen. I must ask others pupils “Can I eat with you?”. Next holidays, she will ride a motorcycle.  “The father of the family works for a motorbike shop! “. Next year she will be in 12th grade in Thailand and afterwards, university.

Bagad*: traditional orchestra from Brittany’s region

The host families: an important part of the language experience

Dilara Kaptana, Turkey

“Here, I have three sisters and one brother”

At home, in Istanbul, Dilara is a 16 years old girl without any siblings. “Here, I have three sisters and one brother. They are between 7 months and 15 years old and I really enjoy it. With my big sister, we go to school together”. Dilara is in 10th grade at Saint-Paul’s High school in Angoulême (France). She can already be well understood in French. A new language she discovered two years ago in her French-Turkish high school, like her two others classmates Efe and Kerem. “Our math, physics and chemistry classes are taught in French. I love this language, especially the accent even if it’s harder than English. It’s not easy to know which articles have to be used in front of words. Here, it was a little bit difficult at the beginning because I couldn’t speak well French and people here don’t speak English. School days are also much longer. We finish school at 5:00 pm several days a week instead of 2:30 pm in Istanbul”. In France, she had already been to Paris and to Saint-Malo. In Angoulême she stays with a French-Moroccan family. “Food is delicious, I love what my family cooks. We have planned to go to Morocco for the next holidays and last week we went to Bordeaux. It was really beautiful especially the night with all the lights”. Later, she would like to become a doctor.

Efe Inkaya, Turkey

“I’d like to go to Polytechnique!”

In August, the SILC Company made a call for help to find in emergency a host family for the young Efe, 16 years old, from Istanbul. Within only two days, organizers found that special someone. Unfortunately the teenager didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of staying with his former family because of the travelling time to his high school which was one hour far by bus from his family’s home. Waiting for his new home, he stayed at Dilara’s host family. To thank Dilara’s family, he cooked fried dumplings for them which were a success. “I have been twice in Paris but I didn’t know more about France. Now, I would like to study in a European University and particularly in France because there are good universities here. This is the reason why I want to speak well in French”, he explained with already good French knowledge. Before attending the French-Turkish high school two years ago he couldn’t speak a single word. Today he has no problem with French specific features. For example with the “croissants and chocolat-croissant” for breakfast. In the end, this clever scientific student would like to attend the Polytechnic University and he already knows its nickname, the “x”. “I’d like to become an IT engineer”, like his father who also speaks French. Now he is looking for a family who lives closer to the high school to enjoy his free time such as sport after school.