Far from Home: From France to Fairfield


Arjay Gaerlan

Lea is gaining American memories to take home to France in June.

Taya Gray, Staff writer

Lea Rychlewski is a foreign exchange student who left France in August so that she can spend a year in the United States. Rychlewski said that there are a lot of clichés about people from France eating baguettes and talking a certain way, but they are not true at all.

While she is in the United States, Rychlewski lives with her host family and another foreign exchange student. “They’re really nice people,” she said. She doesn't miss her family yet, but when the holidays come around she expects that she will miss them the most then.

Rychlewski is not used to the US, yet. “All my schools used to get out at around 5:30 or 6:00, so I like that we get out early,” said Rychlewski. It is not just school, though, that seems different. According to Rychlewski, everything is different from France, in some ways good and in some ways bad. “The people are nicer here,” she said.

Another noticeable difference is the cuisine, especially the cheese. “It’s much better than American cheese,” she said. Even the food at McDonalds in the US is different from the menu at the McDonalds in France.

When the school year is over, Rychlewski plans to return to France, but in the meantime she wants to create lots of American memories. She’s actually on the tennis team and has joined some clubs at school. Her French school didn’t have access to many of the things students have here and she wanted to get involved as much as possible.

It’s not hard to become an exchange student, but it starts with finding an organization that provides the service. Exchange students don't get to pick their host family or where they will go, but that is part of the adventure. One drawback is that there is a lot of paperwork, but according to Rychlewski, it’s all worth it for the experience.

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