Meeting Frenchies

The day has arrived…

I have met French people! I’ve been in Aix for over a month, so this shouldn’t be as exciting as it is, but who cares? (Not me!) We have a Facebook group for meeting other French students, but it’s so hard to make the final step from chatting on Facebook to meeting in person, and especially intimidating if it’s only the 2 of you. Though this is equally nerve wracking in America as well! So when the sun broke through the clouds this morning (metaphorically… it’s always sunny here) and the French students walked into the library, it was like the opportunity just fell into my lap.

I have to mention that the 2 boys (and later girl) we talked to were hilarious and so nice, though there were some things they said that made me laugh a little more than others. I found it so amusing how passionately they believed France was the best country… they had more patriotism than a ‘Murica meme. At first I thought they were joking and mocking American patriotism, but I later realized they were dead serious. This is such an odd idea because I don’t personally believe any country is the best overall, but that each can be appreciated for different things. I think we were all a little dumbfounded when they asked what our favorite country was!

A more common point between the group of us were our dream jobs for when we’re “grown-up”. I was under the impression that since they’re required to choose a concentration in high school, they were essentially locked into that for the rest of their life. Oh the pressure of such a big decision so early! However, they each had unique jobs they wanted to do once they were finished with school, just like us. One wanted to be involved in the film industry and the other a firefighter. 

And to finish, a funny cultural difference. The thing with cultural differences is that you never notice your own actions that may be bizarre, just the actions by others you find weird or peculiar. The guys pointed out that Americans are always animated. Since it’s something that’s ingrained in our culture, I’ve never stopped to question why it’s this way. Our group landed on the conclusion that it’s how we show friendliness in the US, because if someone doesn’t show excitement when they see you or when discussing a topic it’s considered impolite. Whereas, if a French person is overly animated people think they’re crazy or, of course, drunk. 

Overall it was a great conversation and I hope we get to chat with them, or other students from their school, again soon! 

Regan Shorter

42000 Saint-Etienne

Regan is a freelance photographer and travel blogger.