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French student participates in program to study abroad

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French student participates in program to study abroad

Ruth Varghese

Ruth Varghese

Ruth Varghese

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As junior Ruben Pariente exits the plane, he spots senior Jorge Martinez and his family holding a bright yellow sign that says, “Welcome Ruben Salut.” Pariente is studying in the U.S. for the school year and will be living with his hosts, the Martinez family, while he is here. He will study as a junior even though it will not count toward his education requirements in France.

“It’s like a big opportunity,” Pariente said. “So I was like, I will lose a year, but I’m pretty sure I will really enjoy and I will have a really good English level after that.”

After Martinez found out about the Ayusa program, it took him a week to convince both of his parents to agree to host. Martinez, who is taking French IV, said he chose Pariente because he is French. Ruben says he was not expecting to be placed in Garland.

“I was like, Texas, oh my god,” Pariente said. “I was not that happy. Because in my head, I was like, I still got a chance to go to New York or Florida or California or next to that. Now, I really like [Dallas]. It could be really worse. I could be in Alaska right now.”

Although Pariente has visited New York and Miami and felt more aware about the American lifestyle than his other friends, he was surprised at how different Garland was from the suburb he lives in near Paris.

“Everything is different,” Pariente said. “I don’t think I didn’t find any similar things. Here everything is spread out because it’s huge. Like in France, we got underground, and trains and things like that. You can walk, no problems. One night, with some friends, very late, we went to three cities by walking. [Garland] was huge and spread out and I was like, I’m going to spend a whole year here and I didn’t know anybody in the family and anybody in the high school. That was scary for me.”

Pariente believes in general, Americans are friendlier than the French, although he is not completely certain because he considers that people only act that way because he is from France. Pariente hopes to make as many friends as he can here. He says the first friends he made were those in band, because Martinez is a band member.

“I got a lot of friends in the band, because Jorge spends his life in the band room with band people,” Pariente said. “And then I’m making some friends in the high school like in my classes or in baseball or in tennis. People will just come talk to me or something like that. I really want to know more people. I wanted to know everybody in the high school.”

The school system in France is completely different, Pariente says. The periods are less organized and less defined, and the courses are more difficult. French students do not receive a grade for each class, but instead receive one grade of all their classes combined. In their last two years of high school, students must choose a path they wish to specialize in. This specialization will determine which classes weigh more towards a student’s grade.

“The high school is so different,” Pariente said. “That’s kind of why I’m here. Because if it was the same, better stay in France and [I] don’t lose my year and I see my people and see my family.”

Most schools in France do not offer many after school activities. Bigger schools are able to offer more sports and class options.

“The high school is so cool here,” Pariente said. “We don’t have any Homecoming, we don’t have any cheerleaders, no drill team, no football team, no baseball. In some big high school you can have like soccer and maybe tennis, maybe track and maybe volleyball and rugby. It depends on the high school.”

Although Pariente does enjoy the US, he would not recommend most of his friends to come to study here.

“It’s not like their lifestyle,” Pariente said. “It’s way different. Some people could drive crazy just because it’s way too different. Most of my French friends don’t have enough good English level to go here.”

Pariente says English was one of his best classes back in France. Martinez says that Pariente seems to be getting along very well culture-wise.

“I’ve noticed that he learns words very fast,” Martinez said. “Like, he asks me what a word is in English, and then like three days later, I hear him saying the word.”

Pariente hopes to come back to the U.S. to continue his studies after high school.

“I think my dream is go to college in California, but it gets really expensive,” Pariente said. “So I will see what’s my opportunities.”

For now, Pariente is glad he got the opportunity to study here. None of the money Pariente’s family paid to the program will go to Martinez’s family although Pariente says he prefers it would.

“They feed me, they give me a roof, I sleep over there, they’re responsible of me and they’re not especially rich,” Pariente said. “They could’ve not housed me and taken care of me [and] spend the money for something else. So it’s really nice to do that.”

Martinez says he is enjoying hosting Pariente. And although he says he originally wanted to be the one to go study in another country, hosting a foreign student is a great substitute for those who do not have the opportunity to do so.

“It’s like having a younger brother, which I’ve always complained to my mom that I never had,” Martinez said. “I’m pretty sure the plane ticket for Ruben was pretty expensive to get here so if you don’t have the opportunity to pay for that, you could easily host,” Martinez said. “And that itself is pretty amazing, having the country come to you.”

 

Read about another student who came to the U.S. to study here: https://www.raiderecho.com/in-depth/2013/11/26/student-moves-from-middle-east-to-further-future/

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