My experience at PC as a french international student


Photograph by Alex Barrus. French international students Fanny Mazet (left) and Emilie Cordier (right) serve crepes at International Day.

by Emilie Cordier | Staff Writer

It has been over a month since I first stepped foot in American territory, and I believe my French behavior is already fading and gradually being replaced by the American way of life. In fact, I am speaking English so regularly that I recently have had dreams in English.

The most frustrating aspect is that any time I speak to an American, my French accent gets in the way. I try to erase it the best that I can. Even in the morning, however, when I ask for a hot coffee, I can see in the waitress’s eyes that I didn’t pronounce it well.

Also, now I must eat dinner at 5 or 6 in the evening while I used to eat at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. in France. But, it hasn’t been too difficult to adapt… because it is just food.

Most French restaurants don’t open for dinner until 7 or 8 in the evening.

Speaking of food, I think it is what has been the biggest change in my daily life. In fact, there are several differences between our countries. For example, Americans eat snacks during the day while the French are used to meal times, avoiding eating between lunch and dinner.

Another thing is calories. America offers a lot of unhealthy food with the number of calories in the snack shown on the package. In France, you do not notice as much fast food, pizza, restaurants, chocolate bar choices, etc. People are used to cooking more sophisticated meals and the quantities are smaller (our glasses are dwarves compared to yours). We don’t have any distributors of sodas also, people would rather drink water.  

The last major aspect I have noticed is the fact that Americans always say hello when you pass by them. In France that would never happen.

I’ve been surprised every time I realize that all the clichés I had heard about America are true. For example, the presence of cheerleaders, of frat houses, Waffle House, donut boxes, and pick up trucks. All of the Hollywood tropes are true!