Farewell to the French Students

The girls from Le Havre warmed hearts

Pauline, Louise, Helene, Maya, Clémence, Ines, and Heloise

Two months have passed since January, 2017 when seven French exchange students arrived at SEM.

To me, having the French students as roommates was going to be a problem. I didn’t know who they were nor was I really expecting anything of them. Time flies and now I’m already in a minimal stage of sadness because thinking about them leaving means a big loss for me now – so I wanted to interview them before they left. What I realized through these girls was that I could always have hope when I meet a new person that I can expect kindness from them. It’s probably one of the biggest feelings of hope I’ve had in a very long time.

After the interview,  we all gathered around and hugged. It was warm, and I didn’t want to let the feeling go. These girls were genuinely honest about how they felt about the SEM community. I hope later on that the school gives more people a chance to stay in SEM and let them have a wonderful experience as these French girls experienced while they were around. They may be easy to forget because they weren’t around for a long time but I won’t forget them and I hope the SEM community doesn’t forget these girls either.

A Short Q&A with the French Girls

Q. Why did you want to come to SEM at the first place?
A. We came here to discover more and have more experience in the USA while getting better at English. This was our one and only year we were able to sign up for this.

Q. Did you have trouble with the food?
A.No, not really, the food was good. It wasn’t as different but it wasn’t similar. It was good overall.

Q. What were the cons and pros in living in America, why is that so?
A. The good side of staying here was that all of the people were nice, the community was welcoming. The teachers and the students felt more connected.  On the bad side? Nothing really. Living in the dorms was a bit hard at first, but later on, it was easy while we got used to it. Not having some private space was also a problem but it was okay.

Q. While you were here at SEM, what did you miss the most from France?
A. We missed the bread especially! Our friends, family, pets and our own private bedroom. We miss our beds. We miss the bread the most because it tastes good and we ate it every day.

Q. What was your worst and your best experience while staying here?
A. The worst was sleeping at the airport for a whole day because we missed our flight. The place was overall uncomfortable to sleep. Our best experience while we were here was visiting Toronto. Everything was beautiful and the view was entertaining. To some people in our group, it was their first time going to Canada.

Q. What do you think is the biggest difference between American and French education?
A. The teachers were more connected/caring and the classrooms were smaller. In France, it feels like the teachers don’t really care about us. Thinking about it, I don’t even know if my history teacher in France knows my name.

Q. What will you miss the most about SEM and America?
A. The people and the SEM community and the atmosphere because we felt like it was home. It was a cheerful education and everybody was friendly. We don’t want to go back to our schools. Everybody judges you and it’s a heavy atmosphere. The French education seems generic and many of our teachers didn’t seem like they cared about us.

Q. Would you encourage this experience to others? Why?
A. Yes, because this experience was amazing.

Q. Any last words?
A. Some were in person, some were in email:
Maya Abo-Dib: I’ll miss SEM community, thank you for being so welcoming with us, love you all
Ines Horel-Ibersien: The SEM experience is unforgettable! It changed all of us and we grew up. I’ll miss this amazing school!
Helene Girard: I’ll miss SEM so much, everything in SEM, the school, the house, students, teachers, my roommates EVERYTHING! I really don’t want to go back to France. Love you <3
Louise Duflos: When I left i didn’t think that i will miss them so much. love you so much guys.
Clemence Bozec: This experience was so amazing and I’ll miss SEM and Buffalo so much. I hope that I will come back one day. love you guys<3
Pauline: Thank you for everything, I’ll miss you. Really. All. Even the one I’ve never spoken to.
Heloise : I am going to miss everything about SEM from the school itself, to the food and for sure all the amazing people we met. Thank you for everything, I am so thankful to be here. Love you guys <3