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French twist

A French teen tells about his time in America

A French teen tells about his time in America

July 28, 2009|By VINCENT RENAULT / Special to The Herald-Mail

I came to Hagerstown on May 18 for six weeks, it was my fifth trip to the USA. I went to different places such as New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Tampa, but it was my first time in a small town.

When I arrived, I was scared about, "How will my host family be?" and, "Will they understand my English with my French accent?"

A lot of questions made me feel nervous.

There is an American stereotype in France, so I expected that my host family would eat a lot of junk food, watch a lot of the TV. That was not the case. Thanks to them I learned how to cook with a lot of vegetables, which was good. I know some people will find that strange, but a lot of teenagers don't know how to cook in France, sometimes even adults.

In fact, among my host family I was the only one who goes to McDonald's.

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With my host family we sometimes watched movies, most of them related to the French culture. There were some jokes that I didn't really catch about the French, though.

While I was here I did an internship at the Washington County Free Library and at the Washington County Arts Council. It was really nice, and I met really nice people. I attended a few meetings about management and businesses.

Thanks to my host family, I met a lot of great people in here. I think people in a small town here are more welcoming than in a big city like Paris. Another difference with a city like Paris is that in Hagerstown, we can't really go to an other place without a car. I live in a suburb next to Paris, and there's a lot of public transports (bus, train, metro). A better way to move around in Paris isn't the car, it's the metro.

I also noticed that most of people here goes to church, that's not the case in France. Religion is more important here than it is in France. But even for those who don't believe in God, church is a way to gather people together.

During these six weeks, I learned a lot about myself and about family, which I personally think is really important.

Remembering this experience is a great souvenir. And I would like to thank my host family for that.

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