Q&A: Charlotte Micheletti (12)


Charlotte Micheletti (12) poses against her host family’s home. Micheletti has been here since Aug. 17, 2015. Her last day will be June 3, 2016. “[Once I get home] I’ll see my friends and family, [and] go to the beach and the mountains for a couple days. [I might go to Croatia] with my friends,” Micheletti said.

Rachel Front

Q: Is it common for people in France to be in exchange programs? Why did you decide to be in one?

A: No it’s not that common [to be in an exchange program]. I only know three people who [have done] it before me. In the association [that] I came here [with], [there are] only 200 students for the year 2015/2016. [That’s] for the entire country. There is others associations that do [it] too, but not that many. I chose to be an exchange student because I wanted to be fluent in English and because I wanted to see how it is to live in another country. [I wanted] to change everything, family [and] friends. Even if I really like living in France, I think it’s still interesting to know [how other countries live].

Q: What do you love about France?

A: I love the different landscapes so close to each other. I live 30 minutes away from the sea where I can go to the beach during summer, but also 2 hours and 30 minutes from the mountains where I can go ski during winter or hiking during summer. I love the old cities, the French food, the weather where I live. [Where I live] is pretty warm all year and most of time sunny. I love my home, my ritual[s], my family and my friends.

Q: How is life in France different from in the United States? What are some similarities?

A: France is very different. The cities are much older. We don’t use cars as much as you do [and] we walk most of the time or use the public transportation. Everything is much closer than in America where everything is so big, so it’s much easier to do different things. We have [a] more liberal lifestyle too. We can go sit in bars before [we are] 18 years old.

Q: How are the schools different? Which school system do you like more, the one in France or the U.S.?

A: Schools are [a] completely different system. First of all, you don’t choose your classes in France, you get only basic classes. Your schedule is not the same every day [either]. Some days you can start at 8 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. or some other day you can start at 10 a.m. and finish at 3 p.m. Lunches are usually a minimum of an hour or two. You are with the same people in your class during the entire year too. You change classrooms but, most of the time, not the people in [them]. In France you go to school only [to] study, there is no team or any sport, only some little clubs. I think French school is much harder than American school. I definitely like American school better.

Q: Are the people in France different than in the U.S.?

A: American people and French people are pretty [similar]. The way of life is different in both [countries], that makes the people a little different too, but not that much.

Q: What are some cultural differences?

A: The meals are different. We spend more time around the table with [our] family, and we eat all together. If someone is not at home and is not coming back too late, we [wait for them] so we can eat all together. Sometimes during [the] summer, when I am [on] vacation with my entire family, we start lunch at 1 p.m. and finish at 4 p.m. We eat dinner much later than you do too. I eat dinner around 7 p.m. at home. [Compared to] my friends, I eat really early, most of them [eat] around 8-9 p.m. French people spend a lot of time in café[s] too, where you can be outside or inside. In United States you spend more time hanging out at each other’s houses.