Vie en France

I decided to wait two weeks to post about my new life here in Le Puy, some time to get accustomed to my family, the town, and school. And WOW is life wild! I don’t even know where to start.


So here, I’m in the 10th grade. The 11th and 12th grade in France begin preparing students for the BAC/aka the national test that defines what you do for the rest of your life whether you pass or not. And since I don’t take the BAC because I’m not a French citizen, I’m in year 10. All of my peers are 15 years old, but I have actually made friends that are pretty cool and mature.

The classes are pretty odd compared to the USA. Students don’t choose what they take-there’s no “AP” or “Honors” you are just with a random group of 30 other students and you all take every class together, which I actually love because it’s a great way to make friends since you’re with the same people all day everyday all year. Also, the schedule changes every day, and usually day’s are really long.

For instance, Monday’s I start at 9am and end at 4pm, but Tuesday I start at 8am and finish at 6pm, Wednesdays start at 8am and end at 12pm (All of France does this), Thursday 8am-4pm, Friday 8am-5pm. Lunch is an hour everyday. I have Physics/Chem, Biology, French (like an English class…literature/writing), Math, English (the language-it’s a great break for my brain), some type of Sociology class, Economics, History/Geography, European History in English, Health, Civics, and Gym.

I don’t know if you can understand what taking Physics in French is like. Trés difficile. The first week I honestly thought my brain was just not working because it was so hard to understand anything, but now that I’ve finished the second week, I can pick up at least the topic of conversation or of the lessons, but it’s a good thing I’m here to learn French and not physics!

And the school lunches! Man am I impressed. Yesterday, we had pasta with salmon and today we had chicken with ratatouille. Can you say parfait! Always fresh baked bread, always fresh fruit, always a real meal… lunch is seriously my favorite part of the day.

Students are super organized. If the teacher writes something on the board for students to take note of and then underlines it, every single person in the class pulls out a ruler to draw a perfectly straight line on their already lined paper. Almost all of the girls use big purses instead of backpacks-which fits in with the fashion stereotype of France.

And my final comment on school-the teachers. The style seems to be fairly the same as in the US; some teachers lecture the whole class, some write notes on the board, some give handouts and talk about them, etc. But technology is utilized a lot less, and the respect is much higher. When you enter the classroom, you don’t sit down until the teacher says you may. If you’re talking and the teacher moves you to the front, you don’t complain or try and argue. And…teachers don’t have rooms. You have a class in a certain room, and the teacher goes to that room just to teach that class… there are no decorations on the walls or pictures of their family etc.

Also-I’ve become the topic of my English class. The teacher has me read poems and words out loud for an “American” accent, and gives them assignments like “write five questions in English to ask Taylor about her life in America.”

Anyways-Yeah. I’m enjoying school and the days are going by quickly; it’s really difficult though…the most challenged I’ve ever been. (And that’s saying a lot because last year I took AP US history)

      New things

I expected all of these things, but they’re something to comment on.

Smoking (Fumer)

Everyone. Everrryyyone smokes.14 year olds, 40 year olds, girls, guys. I knew “yeah a lot of people smoke in Europe” but this is just wild. In the morning, after school, lunch breaks, in between classes…people are always smoking! I see girls rolling cigarettes inside the school. People making handmade cigarette boxes out of construction paper in class. It’s seriously so strange. I know like two people under the age of 30 who smoke cigarettes back home. Usually, I have an insanely low tolerance for cigarette smoke, I can’t stand to be around it. But now, it doesn’t bother me. I guess all this second hand smoke is making me aloof to it…which honestly kind of scares me.


“Bonjour!” “Salut!” *Kiss, Kiss*

I’ve never had my cheek kissed so many times by so many people. And I never know if its 1, 2, or 3…which makes it really awkward when I pull back and the person is still trying to kiss me. Especially when that person is a stranger. When I’m with my host sister and her friend walks by and kisses her on the cheek, they’ll say “Salut” and kiss me too…even though we haven’t even been introduced. I guess I’ve always compared it to hugging your friend hello/goodbye…but I don’t think I’ve ever hugged a stranger just because they’re with someone I know.

Breakfast (Petit Dejeuner)

A piece of a baguette, butter, jam, coffee (drunk out of a small bowl), and juice. When they say “Petit Dejeuner” it really is petit. But so good! Fresh bread, sometimes cake, and super fresh and rich coffee-which I have gotten used to drinking black (Im proud of that!)


After school, kids go hang out in bars. Some drink beer (drinking age is 18) and some just drink this flavored syrup-water drink, which is popular like in the states it would be a soda or tea or something. Today I had a Sirop de Framboise (strawberry syrup drink).

The obsession with New York City and American music. “Have you ever been to NYC?” “Do you like Justin Bieber? I don’t” “Have you seen The Fault In Our Stars? The Hangover? Hunger Games?” “What kind of stores do you like?” “You’ve never had frog? Snails? Really?” Sometimes in French, sometimes in English.

Most people either are really curious about America, want to hear me say a weird word like “grenouille” [(frog)…seriously that word is really hard to say] or want to practice their English on me.

Nightclubs. There are like 5 in the city, and you can go as young as 13. And people do. I think I’ll go with my host sister in a few weeks. Very curious if the nightclubs here are like what we consider a nightclub in the US, because I’ve never been to one, and wouldn’t be allowed now much less when I was in the 8th grade.

Cultural differences, y’all. I’m learning a bunch.

Absolutely loving my time here. The first few days were rough in terms of adjusting to the language/a new house and family and accepting that I’m here, but I’m feeling much better now that this is starting to feel like my life. Can’t wait for the language barrier to be at a minimum!

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