French Exchange: Issac Cordova

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French Exchange: Issac Cordova

Isaac Cordova, contributor

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by Isaac Cordova

This is the third part of a series of articles by Nex+Gen juniors about their experience in the 2019 French Exchange with Lycée Bréquigny in Rennes, France.

Being able to be part of this past year’s French exchange was one of the best moments in my life. I learned a lot and had fun experiencing it. One of the best things of my trip was my connection to Kim, my exchange student. Second, the culture of France’s people was interesting to learn and be engrossed. Third, was living away from my parents for two weeks and learning to be French! All of these experiences really made the journey to France amazing and one that will stay with me forever.

My exchange student’s name was Kim-Lan, and for two weeks we became close and had lots of fun together. She taught me a lot of French and how to pronounce things properly; she took me to her favorite places and made me feel at home in her house. The connection between me and Kim was extraordinary. I miss her everyday. My favorite thing with her was staying up late listening to music or going out and hanging around downtown or heading to parties. The actual time with my French student in total was one month, and that one month made Kim and I become the best of friends.

I had a big culture shock while in France: the food, fashion, and music was really interesting and quite different compared to America. The French in general dress so nice, what they call casual would be dress casual to us. The music that I heard was mainly at parties, it was fun and upbeat and made you want to dance. Everywhere I ate in France was amazing; it was filling, but worth unbuttoning your pants for good food. The biggest culture shock was how trusting the French parents are with the kids: they all had a lot more freedom compared to us here in America, as if they don’t have crime like we here in the states. Overall, the culture between America and France was really interesting and cool to see. It is very unlike how it is here. 

The last thing about this experience was living away from my parents for two weeks. It was hard on my parents, but very fun for me. I would stay up until 1 am almost every night and go out late and do fun things I would never be able to do here. While I lived at Kim’s house it was hard because the home is completely different and dinner time was usually around 8 o’clock. Every morning Kim’s mom would buy me a fresh croissant from the bakery down the street, and they made me feel as if their house was my home. I really felt French while I lived their. Kim’s parents only spoke French so I was constantly speaking French or having Kim help me translate. Some things she taught me were “non merci je n’ai pas faim”, which means “no thank you I’m not hungry or I’m full”, because Kim’s mom would constantly feed me until I was stuffed. I also got to go off and do things that to me felt French-exclusive and not so touristy. There was one day we went to an abandoned building downtown and graffitied the walls; apparently this place was very popular among some of the students at their school. It was all a lot of fun and made me really understand the whole dynamic of the French people and families.

My experience in France was one of the greatest memories in my life, I enjoyed every minute of it and can’t wait to go back and see everyone and everything again. I really had a great connection with my exchange student Kim she is so funny. I learned a lot about French culture, food, music, and everything else, it made me really think both how lucky we are in the U.S and how cool it is in France.  Living away from my parents was a lot of fun it was good to be on my own and live with someone else in a different country. I just have such a profound love of France in its entirety, I really want to go back and do it all over again.