Hi, I’m Clara, I’m 18 and I’m an exchange student from France in the United States for 10 months. This year has always been like a dream for me, and now I can say that I am having the best year of my life. I liked to get out of my comfort zone and liked to discover new experiences, meet new people and I think that’s why I really enjoy every moment here.
I’m in Missouri, in Appleton City since August 19th. I’m lucky to have an awesome host family composed by my host mom and dad and also a dog, a cat, and chickens (who are all part of the family haha). Appleton City is a very small town of about 1,000 inhabitants but it’s not a problem for me, I decided to let fate guide me to where I was going to spend 10 months in the United States, and I don’t regret at all because I am surrounded by great people.
Having already graduated in France, I am doing a senior year here. I love high school here, it’s very different from France, the teachers are very friendly, we can choose our classes and I find that the level is easier. I decided to integrate Physical Education, English, psychology, child development, biology, American government, and art classes; and I do not regret any of my choices. My favorite class is art. I love what we do and especially my teacher who is very nice, I often teach him to pronounce the names of French artists which is funny (he often says that they are sort of my uncles haha). My high school mascot is the bulldog and our colors are blue, red and white.
During the weekend I often hang out with my friends, and it’s really good memories. This is a picture of when we went ice skating with my friends, it was the first time for me, it was very funny.
I also do a lot of things with my host family. We like to play board games, and they make me discover lots of places. We just came back from a weekend in Colorado where it was very cold but it was great. I was able to ski, which I had missed a lot :). Here’s a Colorado Christmas picture with my host family–and Santa Claus!
When I arrived here I wanted to join a sports team because I was always told that it was important to join a sports team or a club as an exchange student to meet new people and make friends, and I don’t regret it at all. At the start of school a friend, told me about the Softball team and took me to a practice because I had never heard about softball before. And I decided to join the team and it was great!! I can’t wait for the spring season, I have only good memories, a team full of kindness with whom I laughed a lot, but also full of determination because the United States is also a lot of competitiveness! The coach has always been very nice to me, to explain to me how to do things, to explain the exercises to me (I admit that at the beginning I often said yes with a big smile when I hadn’t understood anything haha), but it was always funny and I knew how to find my place; even if sorry coach I still have my tennis swing ^^. A picture with all the senior of the softball team and the coach of the Montrose Lady Jays. This photo was just after our last game during district.
I had a good level of English at school in France but I realized when I arrived here that it had nothing to do when we were in immersion; I have been here for more than 6 months and my English has really improved, even if the most difficult thing is my accent (my French accent often makes my friends laugh, they try to make me pronounce things with the “American accent” –but they say I still sound French so I take my revenge by teaching them some French words that they can’t pronounce correctly – haha).
I made real friends here, and my host family is really great, that’s why I feel good here. It’s like my second home. Of course, I miss my family and my friends, but I find that I live the distance rather well. It is really important to be yourself in your registration file because it allows Greenheart to find you a host family with whom you will flourish. And I am very grateful for that!
Thank you Clara for sharing your story!
If you are interested in helping international high school exchange students like Clara find that perfect host family, perhaps you’d like to work with Greenheart as a Local Coordinator! Learn more and begin the application at PlacewithGreenheart.org.
If hosting an exchange student like Clara sounds like your cup of tea, please visit HostwithGreenheart.org to learn more and apply.