Once in a lifetime opportunity


Photo provided by: Jeanne Fabert

French foreign exchange student, Jeanne Fabert, is an avid artist who loves to experiment with different styles of drawing. Prior to studying abroad, Fabert had visited the United States multiple times and had an aspiration to become more immersed in the culture and art. “One of my favorite pieces of art is my digital drawing of a jellyfish,” Fabert said. “I’m passionate about drawing and I would love to work at the Disney Animation Studios later.”

Makayla Martindale, Staff Reporter

On Aug. 28, Jeanne Fabert arrived in America to begin her ten month journey as a foreign exchange student. Fabert’s first time visiting the U.S. was many years prior to this trip, but it opened her eyes to the American culture and lifestyle. Her first trip included a visit to New York City during Halloween where she admired the skyscrapers, bustling streets, and endless noises, which was very different from her home in France.  Fabert’s desire to return to the U.S. led her to consider studying abroad.  

Becoming a foreign exchange student presents unique opportunities that many people never get to experience. Moving to America opened the door for Fabert to better her understanding of English, since it forced her to spend time around people who primarily speak the language. 

“I’ve already been to the USA a few times before and have always loved the culture of this country,” Fabert said. “It was also an interesting way to become bilingual and to take a break from my French school, which is really stressful.”

The education system in France is very different from America, as school in France usually does not end until around 6:00  P.M., and they do not offer the same versatility in the level of the classes that the student can take.

“There are lots of differences between the two countries, but I would say the biggest difference is school,” Fabert said. “Teachers here are really friendly and they have their own classroom, but French students usually have their own class because we’re already separated in classes for our grade. This means that we can’t choose the level of our class like here with honors or AP classes. I would say the thing I prefer in your school is the school spirit because in France, and a major part of Europe, sports are after school and with a completely different organization.”

Although learning in another country is an incredible experience, there are also challenges that go along with it. This year in particular has provided more obstacles than most because of restrictions throughout the world due to COVID-19. 

“I think the biggest challenge was the whole situation with Coronavirus,” Fabert said. “I also didn’t know that I was leaving until three days before the plane left, so it was difficult to say goodbye to all of my friends in three days.”

The pleasant experience that Fabert has had so far was largely due to the people she has encountered along the way.

“People have been really friendly and really nice, my family too,” Fabert said. “It is a really welcoming country and has been a really great experience.”