French exchange student enjoying three-week CFHS experience

After one flight cancellation and 24 hours of travel, French student Celia Deudon and her other 14 classmates were ready to make it to America. “The plane ride here was very long. It was over 10 hours to go from Marseille to Paris to Atlanta to Chicago after the cancellation. I took three planes on the same day. It was one of the longest days of my life,” Deudon said.

Once Deudon saw the big buildings and bright colors, she knew she was somewhere worth the long adventure for. “All of it was bigger than France. Everything was large and exciting. There was snow also, because where I live, there is not any snow, maybe once a year. Everything is very beautiful,” she said.

From Chicago, she and other French students took a bus to Iowa. Her pick-up by her host family was in Coralville at an iconically American place: McDonald’s. On the car ride into Cedar Falls, Deudon took in the farmland and open terrain of Iowa. She counted how many McDonald’s there were and different things that she wouldn’t see in France.

Deudon’s first day at Cedar Falls High School helped her notice the differences between France and America. “I like the school the most about America. It is like the movies. With the lockers and basketball games and cheerleaders. We don’t have that in France. Students are also more free to roam the halls than in France,” Deudon said.

In French schools, students use a block schedule. Different courses are taken in two-hour shifts every day compared to American schools, where every student move frequently and complete seven periods by the end the day. “The schedule is also a big difference. Everyone finishes at 3 p.m. here. In France on Mondays I end school at 4 p.m.,” she said.

“My favorite activity has been shopping. My favorite store has been Target because there is everything you need in this store. A lot of food that I want to try and beautiful clothes.”

One of Deudon’s favorite new things is eating Goldfish crackers, and she tried mac ‘n’ cheese for the first time, and maple syrup, too. She brought recipes from home with her, and after translating the recipe measurements from grams to cups made a delicious chocolate cake.

Deudon has learned a lot about American culture during her visit, but she has also noticed some unfamiliar things.

“One thing that is weird and funny that I have seen about American culture is that everyone is always cracking their knuckles all of the time. We never do this in France,” Deudon said.

Deudon hopes to continue her fluency in English and be able to communicate globally.

“Because it is an international language, and I can utilize it in my future. I love the accent and culture.”

The three-week long trip in America for Deudon started at a McDonald’s and will end at the McDonald’s back in Coralville, where she begins another long day of travel.

“All teenagers of my age want to go to America because there is the American dream. We think all our dreams can become true. I will always remember this trip,” Deudon said.

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