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‘Not just a student’: French: frolicking, frustrations

By SHAY GORDON | Staff Writer
Lucy Powell is like most other students at APSU. She loves hanging out with friends, keeping in touch with family and stays on task with her classes.

However, Lucy’s family and friends are living thousands of miles away across the Atlantic in France. Her major at APSU, English, happens to be a second language.

Powell has spent the last 18 years of her life living in France, but has also lived in England as a small child. She is a participant of APSU’s foreign exchange student program and is one of three French students on campus. Powell is a junior English major and communications minor.

“From high school, I always wanted to study in America or [another] English-speaking country because I’ve always wanted to do English studies,” Powell explained.

Powell’s family resides in France, but she also has family members in England. She feels as if visiting the family in England inspired her to study English and sparked her interest in exploring different cultures. APSU was one of 15 schools her university in France presented in the student exchange program.

APSU offered Powell the classes she needed for her program and seemed like a financially reasonable choice. APSU’s location was also a feature that appealed to Powell.

“I didn’t want to be in a big, big city. I’d rather be in a small city where the people are more friendlier,” Powell said.

Powell enjoys APSU’s campus size because she feels it is large enough to offer all of the necessities of her program requirements but also small enough for her to meet new people and make friends.

Her classes this semester include British literature, American literature, public relations as well as international learning community.

While Powell suggests in the two and a half months she has been in America, she has not suffered a culture shock.

However, she says the separation from her family and friends has proved one of the most difficult obstacles in living in the U.S.

“You have to start from the beginning: making friends, starting a new life in a new place … the hardest part is starting from nothing.”

Powell is thankful to have the Internet and services such as Skype to keep in touch with family and friends. She will be at APSU for two semesters and tries to keep in mind the time spent in the U.S. will be overall beneficial. Powell also feels as if the separation has let her know how strong the bond is with her friends at home in France.

“You find out who your true friends are when you’re on the other side of the Atlantic,” Powell explained.

Along with being home sick, Powell says one of the more difficult adjustments to American living has been the food.

She admits she misses her baguettes and other assortments of French cuisine.

Powell has difficulty in adjusting to the “fatty” and over-processed food in the U.S. She also is frustrated with the fact she is considered underage for alcohol consumption in the U.S. and was legal in France.

Yet, with all of the changes that Powell has faced in living in the U.S. she has enjoyed discovering a whole new way of life.

While she has dealt with having to make new friends in a foreign country, she feels it was part of the overall positive experience.

When she returns to France, Powell will have two years remaining in completing her degree and plans to do more traveling after graduation.

Powell wishes to take away many memories when she returns to her homeland.

“A lot of little things happen; little stories. I really want to remember this. I think it’s really important to remember the little things that happen everyday.” TAS

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