Living in America, a oui bit different than life in Bordeaux

With a love for sports and a future in engineering, Claire Drouineau,  French exchange student from Bordeaux, France, is overjoyed to spend her senior year here at North Penn High School.

Every school year through the International Friendship Club, a few selected students spend their junior or senior year across the country. At North Penn, there are students from France, Germany, Spain, and Korea.

“It’s a very very very interesting experience and it opens a lot of doors for new opportunities,” Drouineau said.

There are many differences between the education system in France and America, but to Claire, the most significant difference is how students work in a classroom and what a typical day looks like. 

“In school, we have the same classmates, so the classroom is like a big team, and here the students are independent,” Drouineau described. 

“We start the day at 8 am,and then we have a long lunch and we finish around 5 or 6 pm. The days are longer, but we have a lot of breaks. Here we get off for school but in France we get weeks at a time off ,” Drouineau explained.

North Penn has plenty of sports and clubs for every student to get involved with. Drouineau described her passion for the sports teams and the variety of clubs she is a part of. One of her favorite things here at school.

“I joined the cross country team, I will probably join the winter girls track team as well, I have joined the Skiing club and maybe I’ll join the French club…here if you’re good at sports people care about it,” Drouineau said.

Along with the sports and clubs, Drouineau said she enjoyed picking her classes. Especially Engineering. 

“Here you chose some classes, and in French you chose only two classes and the rest of the subjects (History, Philosophy, French, English, Math, Physics and Economics) you take the same classes with the same classmates,” Drouineau shared.

“I want to be an engineer, and I want to go to college back in France,” Drouineau described.

Even though she has only been here since summer, Drouineau has already found her favorite spot in America, connecting it with her hometown of Bordeaux.

“Ocean City is my favorite, I spent one weekend there. Because Bordeaux is very close to the Atlantic Ocean, and Ocean City is on the other side of the ocean. So it was nice to see the other side,” Drouineau stated.

America is known for many popular foods, but Drouineau’s favorite comes from the school Cafeteria for breakfast.

“I haven’t tasted much American food yet, but I like when you have egg and cheese on a bagel. Like the ones I get in the morning at school.” Recently I tried cookie cake with frosting, that’s my other favorite,” Drouineau said.

Coming from France, Drouineau explained that the hardest thing for her was understanding and speaking English. It’s difficult, but she learns more from others around her.

“I did learned English before I came, but of course it’s difficult to understand when people are speaking, cause most of the students are very excited when speaking and they start speaking fast and I sometimes don’t have the vocabulary to understand, but in France I learned English in middle and high school,” Drouineau explained.

 Despite the difficulties with learning English, Drouineau is excited to spend the year at North Penn.

“For me to leave my home and come to the U.S. will help me grow a lot… I’m also excited to learn more English because that will help me,” Drouineau exclaimed.